5 Commonly Used Phrases in Anime

There are some lines that are used almost universally in anime. Some might even call them cliché at this point. Even though they’re tried and tired by now, I think some of them are still a pleasure to run across even if you’ve heard them again and again and again.

“Arara~” (あらら)

Opinion is split regarding the status of “arara”: is it a vocal noise or an interjection? Be that as it may, it’s primarily used by female characters (I can’t think of any male characters saying, “arara / ara ara,” at least).

The phrase is also rather flexible since it can signify either surprise or compassion. Context is key!

“It’s like __________ is in a different world compared to ____________ “


The characters who say this usually are aware that they’re getting swept up in obvious differences and that the two locations are typically in the same world. If the setting involves different worlds and such, however, then obviously I’m wrong.

But this line is often reserved for when the comparison is in fact not true. The quiet, dark top floor with the vending machines does seem very different compared to the rowdy and illuminated classrooms in episode 7 of Amanchu! Advance (the students were all preparing for the annual student festival by staying at school overnight, by the way). Yet the characters who do voice this juxtaposition aloud are aware they’re being wishful and fanciful. I’m all for it, personally, as I’m a silly romanticist when I’m not being a cynic.

Then again, Amanchu! Advance has really been blurring the line between real life and fantasy (to its benefit, in my opinion), so maybe the top floor really was in a different world after all!

“I wish time would stop in this moment”


And here’s where my bitter side rears its head. I had always disliked this line somewhat. I guess it’s overly vague. What would happen if time did stop?

Would you be the only one moving around like you just activated El Mundo / The World? If others are allowed to move and they’re busy preparing for a festival, then does that mean they’ll be stuck getting things ready for eternity?

I’m being pedantic, I know. Especially considering that the “different world’ phrase is just as whimsical. But I think it’s because the people who bring up the comparison are, by default a bit self-aware. There’s no such guarantee for the people who would say the “time should stop” phrase.

“Shouganai” (しょうがない)

It’s more or less an expression of quiet acceptance.

The translations vary wildly, too. “It can’t be helped” is probably the most well-known variant. However, one should also consider “There’s nothing to be done [about it],” “What’s done is done,” “There’s no helping it,” “Sucks to be you,” etc.

“___________ Kirai ja nai” (きらいじゃない)


This phrase, if literally translated, means “I don’t hate this [insert anything].” I’m actually a fan of it being translated in this manner.

It simply isn’t quite the same if character’s words are translated into saying “I sort of like this,” however. The nuances keep them from being interchangeable! Ah, when did I become such a stickler?

That’s all, folks. I want to hear your thoughts regarding this random train of thought in the comments section down below, if it’s not a hassle.

Thank you for reading.

17 thoughts on “5 Commonly Used Phrases in Anime

  1. That’s so true about those cliches. I can think of a few more…

    “I want to be stronger!”
    “I will destroy/defeat anyone who stands in my way!”
    “I will protect [this person].”
    “I will never forgive you!”

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I remember there was one series which mentioned that “嫌いじゃない” and “好き” are two totally different things (or was it “好きじゃない” and “嫌い”, my memory fails me) in the dialogue. This interestingly offers a more accommodating likert scale..?

    Oh wells, the language is so much about context, and ironically we get the most fun out of it when taking (the subs) out of context (in memes). 😛

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A more gender-neutral variant of ara-ara when used to express surprise would be are-re-re (or just “are” with the last “e” drawn out). Detective Conan has all kinds of characters do that. Notably, it is almost always artificial surprise since Conan already understands the meaning of whatever “surprising” thing he is pointing out, he just needs the stupid adults to notice it.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. “Kirai ja nai” reminds me of Yuko and Mai flirting in Avatar: “You’re beautiful when you hate everyone.” “I don’t hate you.” “I don’t hate you, too.” 🤣 Anyway, thank you for the informative and entertaining read.

    Liked by 3 people

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