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Cicadian Rhythm

"Don't know if this is a thing everyone knows but me, BUT WHAT THE HELL IS THAT NRRRWHRRRR NRRWHRRRRR NRRRWHRRR SOUND IN THE BACKROUND OF EVERY SINGLE FUCKING ANIME IN EXISTENCE."
— posted to 4chan's /a/ on April 15, 2006

It is August. Or rather the last day of July to the first day of September, a k a Forgotten Summer Vacation Homework time.

How do we know? Because distinguished anime artists show us an Establishing Shot with this green, noisy, bug-eyed bug striding a tree with the student yawning in a distant window. Although sometimes we see an extreme closeup of the goggle-eyed critter in an Aspect Montage — whereupon it normally falls off the tree to show that even it has fainted from the heat.

Something of a cultural gap between Asia and the West because cicadas appear every year in the former while many cicada broods in North America cycle at absurdly long intervals (either 13 or 17 years, and almost never any other number of years) and these periodic cicadas emerge along North America's east-coast in the spring, living for about two weeks, during which they are present en very great masse. Thus, children in some areas may not have been exposed to this particular occurrence until midway or later in childhood. However, there are various other cicada species that emerge every summer in the West (most notably the Tibicen/Dog Day cicada) but said species do not emerge by the millions per acre like Magicicadas do. note 

Traditionally, the sound effect used in manga to represent cicadas chirping is 「ミーーン ミーン ミーン ミーン ミーン」 (miiiiin miin miin miin miin). And, yes, they are THAT loud.

See also Chirping Crickets.

Examples

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     Anime and Manga  

  • Seen in a flashback in Karin, where the cicada was used as a visual aid for bloodsucking. In case that wasn't already pretty obvious from the blood...
  • Potemayo - Guchuko shows her usual patience by putting up with this racket for about 2 seconds before she uses hypersonics to stun the cicadas ... and shatter glass, set off car alarms, cause dogs to freak out, etc etc. You don't mess with Guchuko.
  • Manabi Straight, pictured above.
  • Manga example: Yotsuba&! - Lampshade hung in the first chapter, at the start of summer vacation when Yotsuba climbs a telephone pole and pretends to be a cicada. Shows up again with her obsession with tsukutsukuboushi bringing the end of summer.
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (literally translated as "When Cicadas Cry") has, appropriately enough, this trope in just about every episode.
    • Although it's worth noting that the anime takes place in June, not the time frame given, and that a Higurashi is a particular type of cicada that comes out in early summer.
    • More noticeable in the anime (because it's so persistent) is the distinct difference in chirping between day and night. The evening through night is when the higurashi cry.
  • Doki Doki School Hours
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion uses this trope constantly to show that it's summer all year round in Japan, due to Second Impact shifting Earth's axis so much that traditional seasons no longer exist.
  • Many of Ranma 1/2's summer episodes use these as episode openers; most notable of all, an Image Song for one of the characters pulls a slow pan up a tree for no other reason than to portray the cicada on its side.
  • The Endless Eight episode of Haruhi Suzumiya features this. Haruhi insists that catching cicadas is part of a perfect summer. She also insists on releasing them, after. Kyon says that releasing them feels like opening Pandora's Box.
    • The interesting theme here is that in Eastern mythology, cicadas represent reincarnation and the soul leaving the body to start over again, which perfectly describes the Endless Eight.
  • Lucky Star uses this trope a few times, a cicada seemingly dying, breaking its hypnotic trance on a sleeping Konata and starting the next scene. The aftermath of its death is the center of another scene opening, featuring other smaller bugs breaking the dead cicada into pieces to take to their nest.
  • The really fast opening shots in episode of Code Geass that shows Suzaku and Lelouch as children during the war contains a brief flash of one. In the DVD Commentary, one of the creators of the show talks about how an artist went all to all the trouble of going out and photographing a dead cicada to make sure to draw it correctly. It was disappointing when it was reduced to a two second frame.
  • Averted in Gosick, when Japanese exchange student Kazuya points out that one major difference between the summer in the European Fictional Country of Sauville and Japan is the distinct lack of cicadas.
  • Pops up in the Summer Episode of Shugo Chara!, complete with Cloud Cuckoo Lander Su clinging to a tree and imitating a cicada. For some reason.
  • Comes up frequently in The Tatami Galaxy. It adds to the show's laid-back, casual setting.
  • Parodied in Rurouni Kenshin. Kenshin and Sanosuke were tailing Yahiko in one episode, checking up on some form of suspicious activity they thought he was doing. Yahiko catches on, and when he turns around to look, Sanosuke and Kenshin duck behind a rooftop and start imitating cicada sounds to try and convince Yahiko that there's nothing out of the ordinary going on. Yahiko calls them out on it by saying it's the wrong season for cicadas.
  • Parodied in the anime of Namiuchigiwa No Muromisan with a blatantly fake voiceover of "buzz-buzz" noises instead of the usual cicada stock recordings.

     Video Games  

  • Animal Crossing: Various species of cicada appear in the summer months. You can, of course, catch the cicadas and sell them (like catching any bugs that reside on trees, it's tricky), or put them in your house so your character can have this trope year round.
  • It wouldn't be summer in Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town without the scream of cicadas, especially around the Harvest Goddess' lake.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has Sand Cicadas hanging out in the Lanayru Sand Sea, usually clinging to tall, thin objects in lieu of trees.
  • You can hear cicadas outside in the summer months in Persona 4, especially late at night (since your window is open, it seems).
  • In Tsukihime, the cicadas chirping is the most vivid thing Shiki remembers of the day he was killed, brought back to life, and brainwashed to forget it. He even compares his own dead body to a discarded cicada shell.
  • Nincada and its evolutions Ninjask and Shedinja from Pokémon.

     Real Life  

  • This occasionally crops up in Australian media, as Cicadas are very widespread, and are almost constant during the early evenings. Like everywhere else, they appear in the hot summer (and late spring) months. However, being the Southern hemisphere, they're most common in November, December, January and February.
  • This is very often used in French shows to tip the viewer the action takes place in Provence (Southern France), as cicadas are very present there every summer, but unheard of in the northern half of the country. Some shows tend to overdo this, letting the viewer hear cicadas during winter just to point out it happens in the south.
  • On the East Coast of the United States, a few cicada species do show up yearly, so they can be heard, but they tend to stay away from developed areas. They don't come in the same plague-like droves that the 13 or 17 year cicadas do. They're not as loud so people don't hear them. Now when the 13 or 17 year cicadas show up, you will hear them. If a tree is full of them, they can be as loud as jackhammers, sometimes louder. Pray for the people who own said tree, because they have to deal with it 24/7. You only have to drive by it. The last Invasion of the Cicadasnote  on the East Coast was in 2004. The Bible Belt and Rust Belt got their own Invasion of the Cicadas courtesy of 13 year Brood XIX in 2011.
    • "My god, they really do sound like car alarms!"
    • Which year the Invasion takes place is largely dependent upon where one lives. Broods synchronize in certain areas to guarantee enough cicadas are around for their population to be utterly decimated by predators and still not kill enough to destroy the whole brood.
    • The yearly cicada species living in the Chicago region, however, are always obnoxiously loud. Always.
    • You do not know suffering until you are living in Virginia during the overlap of multiple cycles.
    • The 2011 cycle in the South was annoying as hell but ultimately ignorable. Thank god for headphones.
    • Cicadas exist all over the United States. The Apache Cicada of the southwest is a yearly event for most of the summer, and they sound like a long, constant LOUD (One of the loudest insects on the planet) buzz. It's a bit like having tinnitus, only less musical.
    • However, there's a small town about an hour outside of Chicago that, while it does get yearly cicadas, doesn't get the awful droves of 17 year cicadas, as development of the town started during one of the years the cicadas were supposed to be out, effectively removing them from the area. There are a few more cicadas than usual that year, but not the plague that other places get.

     Other 
  • Eat Your Kimchi (filmed in South Korea) has a video about how annoying cicadas are, though the sound effect is written as HEEEEEGH. They use actual cicada sounds, which are really annoying.

Cherry BlossomsTropes of NatureCold Snap
Cherry BlossomsJapanese Media TropesCompensated Dating
Chirping CricketsInvertebrate IndexCobweb Trampoline
The Chosen ZeroJust for PunCity of Weirdos

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