A frozen moment of awkwardness in an anime
series is frequently highlighted by the passing of a loudspeaker truck, announcing over its loudspeaker the availability of some sort of item for sale. The scene — or at least the shocked character — will freeze long enough for two or three announcements about bamboo poles or whatnot, after which the action resumes, sometimes involving a Hyperspace Mallet
Items announced by loudspeaker trucks include:
- Bamboo poles for drying laundry (most Japanese apartment-dwellers don't have dryers)
- Yakiimo (broiled sweet potatoes, a winter treat)
- Political candidates
- Collections of old electronics (often hilariously outdated, such as "Famicom, PlayStation, tape decks, color TVs...")
Note that loudspeaker trucks are not only in anime
but often appear in other media, although it is rare for anyone to "freeze" during their appearance in non-anime works.
A common Western variant is the "rag-and-bone man", who'd walk through the streets of a big town — usually Victorian London
, but the practice persisted until well into the 1930s — calling out for people to bring their refuse, old clothes and broken household items and cart it off in order to sell on anything reusable or recyclable. They were normally dependent on a good pair of lungs back then, of course, but the occasional modern example plays the trope straight.
Compare Chirping Crickets
, Face Fault
Loudspeaker Trucks can also be used to deliver Canned Orders over Loudspeaker
Anime and Manga
- Please Save My Earth
- Strawberry Marshmallow
- In Ranma ½; the Mexican dub renders it as Oaxacan tamales.
- It may be worth noting here that there are similar trucks in similar roles in Mexico.
- An extended scene in the first episode of Kare Kano.
- Rather goofy variation in Puni Puni Poemi: rather than a truck going by, three guys with Faceless Masses-type detail bounce by on oversized rubber balls, each one singing a line about their ball.
- Hayate the Combat Butler. A bamboo loudspeaker truck even interrupts Wataru in the middle of a speech once, with his immediate Lampshade Hanging implying that this isn't the first time it's done so.
- After seeing Rin's awkward attempts at cookery in Kodomo no Jikan, Reiji briefly considers stealing one of these in order to broadcast how cute she is.
- In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Matarael's attack happened to coincide with a city-wide blackout, leaving the military with no way to warn NERV. Hyuga however happened to be topside and heard about the situation from a overflying military airplane. As he was looking for a way into the Geofront, the political loudspeaker truck just happened to show up at that exact moment so he used his authority as NERV's Bridge Bunny to commandeer it and drive right into the command center to warn everyone.
- Back to the Future, in one of its many such gags, has two of these trucks, separated by thirty years for vastly different candidates - and the exact same slogan.
- The opening of Best Seller has a political campaign truck driving through the streets blaring its message; only it turns out to be full of robbers (in rubber Nixon Masks) heisting the police HQ evidence room.
- The Blues Brothers mount one on the Bluesmobile to advertise their show at the Plaza.
- In Jerry Lewis's comedy, The Family Jewels, he hijacks a loudspeaker truck. Hilarity ensues, both before he hijacks it and afterwards.
- Not quite a truck and certainly not a loudspeaker, an old woman wanders the streets of Bangkok, touting knives for sale in Ong Bak. Unfortunately, she had interrupted the pursuit of Humlae, the odious comic relief, and his previously unarmed pursuers were now happy to resume their pursuit. With lots of knives.
- In Red Alert II, the Allies send one of these to Russia to try and get the citizens to rebel and destroy your battle-lab. Wait long enough without destroying it, and they will actually try this.
Join the winning side!
- These are featured prominently in the "Taisetsu na Mono" stage of Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, which involves a good-hearted politician and his sleazy rival trying to win over the public. They even get into a loudspeaker truck demolition derby at one point.
- A loudspeaker truck is a plot point in The Little Rascals short "Beauty Queen for a Day". A man drives one past Darla and Pete, announcing the upcoming beauty pageant.