Anime and memes; together, these two things can create something truly magical. Almost every year, at least one or two anime memes trend worldwide and 2017 was definitely no exception. It isn’t just with anime fans either, as these gems from 2017 have been talked about and enjoyed in non-anime related places like a college newspaper, and a video game forum (whether this is a good or bad thing is up for debate). Though, what isn’t up for debate is the popularity of these type of memes and how, for whatever reason, they become more and more viral each year.

I know some of you are probably thinking, “Wow you must really hate yourself for making this list,” and “You should really consider deleting this.” Well, you can all keep your dignity and self-respect because life shouldn’t be taken so seriously. This is for all the people that aren’t afraid of the “cringy” label. You all know how to have a good time. Now, here are my top five favorite anime memes of 2017!

Top 10 Anime Battles of 2017, featured in one of the most legendary anime openings.
Top 10 Anime Battles of 2017, featured in one of the most legendary anime openings. Image via YouTube

5. Humanity’s Worst Fear

We’re starting off strong with the ATTACK ON TITAN opening door meme. ATTACK ON TITAN takes place in a world where humanity has to survive giant man-eating beasts called, you guessed it, titans. The show became extremely popular when it originally aired in 2013 but took a painfully-long three-year hiatus. The hype for its comeback was definitely there, making this meme inevitable. It was created in April after the second season’s fourth episode released and only grew from there. Although this one’s popularity lasted for only a short amount of time (the most popular versions of this meme lasted from April-July), it was still a pretty enjoyable meme. It uses the original context (the character Reiner reacting to a titan) and throws in a funny placeholder (like Shrek or Jeb Bush). Check out the original scene below:

Simple, yet effective. In fact, that’s why it works so well, it isn’t complicated and it can go with anything anyone can imagine. Almost anyone can create and enjoy this one since all you would need to know is that titans are horrifying and Reiners delayed reaction to one is pretty comical. Also, Reiner suddenly reacting with shock and horror as he slams the door on whatever is edited in makes for a great time. It may not be a classic, but a lot of good stuff came from this one. My favorite happens to be the one below since it is truly the most terrifying.

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4. Scream Like Goku/Run Like Naruto

Compared to websites like Reddit and Tumblr, Facebook’s memes are usually subpar (think of those infamous minion quotes of 2015). Despite that, Facebook has somehow produced probably the most viral anime meme of 2017. Fake Facebook events started popping up May 2016, and their ridiculousness is what made them so appealing. People started to say they would attend as a joke (no one really went to a Hot Topic hoping to see Chris Hansen). Then, the anime-related events started trending by the end of August 2017 before dwindling by the end of September. Unlike the rest, people actually went to these specific events, mainly the DRAGON BALL Z and NARUTO ones.

One example of the fake NARUTO Facebook event anime memes
A beautiful example of this meme. Image via know your meme

While the ones that involved the storm were obviously not going to have public meetups, the events where anime fans could safely imitate their favorite characters together in public did. What anime fan doesn’t want an excuse to run like Naruto or power up like a Saiyan without regret? It obviously had the same thrill of cosplaying without actually having to dress up or worry about doing it alone. Non-anime fans were also able to enjoy these events because of how universally known the shows are. The example below just shows how popular it was. It has over 4,000,000 views and 1,200 that claimed to have attended the event at Washington Square Arch.

Honorable Mention

Speaking of Goku and Naruto, it would’ve been a mistake if I didn’t include this anime meme masterpiece. The mastermind behind it, famehazel, takes public roleplay to an entirely new level. He takes on the role of Naruto, who somehow keeps bumping into Goku in various public places (usually ones that are highly inappropriate for a brawl). He and his friends make these encounters funnier and funnier with every video, making this a definite honorable mention. Plus, the below example has over 190,000 views!

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3. Making Fun of EROMANGA SENSEI

Warning: This section contains content and videos intended for mature audiences only, including profanity and discussion of incest and pedophilia. 

This one may not have been as viral as the others, but it’s definitely my personal favorite. I obviously love anime, but sometimes even I have to agree with this totally legit, not fake at all, Miyazaki quote:

Image via know your meme.

To put it lightly, there’s a very particular, and unfortunately popular, genre in manga and anime that gives all anime fans a bad name. This genre leads to an abundance of trash that over-saturates the community, and one such trash this year was EROMANGA SENSEI. The anime itself isn’t the meme, it’s how people reacted to it as it aired around April and into July. This video (with almost one million views) here perfectly highlights whats wrong with the show.

In short, EROMANGA SENSEI is about a young light novel writer who gets his illustrations from an anonymous artist that is known for drawing perverted stuff. Heres the kicker, that artist is his 12-year-old step-sister. This type of premise obviously leads to problematic scenarios that are borderline pedophilic and incestuous. As sad as it is that this type of show is common in anime, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. The majority of people watching reacted in a way that shows that there might be some hope for a better tomorrow. So, the meme here is this trash being mocked (both videos have one million views). There’s also this short but hilarious one, as well as, this absolutely perfect one:

2. “Anime” Openings

This treasure is based around probably the funniest, longest-running anime meme: turning something that obviously isn’t anime/anime-related into an anime or claiming that it is. My favorite example, and probably the first example dating back all the way to 2007, is this “Cory in the house is the greatest anime” meme. I can’t explain why but I laugh just thinking about it. Another popular variation of the meme from 2015 is the top 10 anime list parodies.

2017’s version of the meme is anime opening parodies—people making anime openings (OPs), for things that are clearly not anime. Anime OPs are usually high-quality introductions that summarize the plot and emphasize key characters.  Pair it with intense music and you’ve got yourself a hit. I love anime OPs, but I know they may look kinda silly to non-anime fans, especially because of how overdramatic they can be. That’s why turning them into a meme works so well. People parodied anime OPs way before (the actual year is unknown) 2017, but the difference now is the quality of them and how much they’ve exploded. So much time and effort has gone into these. We’ve been blessed with hits like the Filthy Frank anime OP 2  (two million views), smug Wendy’s anime OP (one million views), GAME OF THRONES anime OP (one million views) and, my favorite, the SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS anime OP.

The Spongebob one is the most popular out of all of them, having over 10 million views while also being viral on Facebook (two million views). Ever thought you’d see an anime version of Spongebob? Or Wendy’s? That’s the beauty of anime memes, they give us things we never knew we needed.

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1. Omae Wa Mou Shindeiru

Did you really expect anything else? We all know this one belongs here so don’t pretend like it doesn’t. It’s still pretty popular despite having started in 2010. Jay Hathaway of The Daily Dot stated, “Know Your Meme lists Omae Wa Mou Shindeiru as its most popular page for September [2017], and Google shows search interest has skyrocketed.” Almost everyone on the internet knows it and quotes because it’s just so simple that its genius. It’s also universal—it transcends the language barrier. Most memes can be hard to decipher, some are more like inside jokes, and others just don’t stick. But this god tier meme is what it is at face value.

Its origin is from the 1983 series FIST OF THE NORTH STAR. The protagonist, Kenshiro, uses a special move that hits various pressure points, leaving the enemy standing unfazed for a few moments. Then, as they laugh and question Kenshiro, he says the line, “Omae wa mou shindeiru,” which translates to “You’re already dead.” The enemy shouts, “Nani?!” meaning “What?!” before gruesomely exploding. Dubbing the audio over anything with two people interacting can recreate this jewel. A high-quality version of this meme has a good edit of one powering up and the other dying, preferably with a bass boosted explosion noise, like this one:

Or any of the ones seen in the meme compilation video below. Even though it’s only 2 months old (uploaded November 2017), it has one million views! This further proves the meme’s immortality.

I love it so much. It embodies everything that makes good anime memes: the ridiculousness, the way it’s overdramatic, how well it goes with everything, and, most of all, how quotable it is. Shouting “Nani?!” has become a bit of a tick for me.

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Anime Memes and You

If you’ve read this all the way through, congratulations! You’re officially as lame as I am! But that’s okay, anime memes are all about laughing at ourselves and the silly aspects of anime. It’s ok to enjoy things that parody what you love, so go out there and continue to enjoy anime memes without shame!

Let me know in the comments below if you agree with this list, and if you don’t, what would be your top five?

Featured image via YouTube.

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