The Idiot from Osaka
In anime and manga, a comedy-relief character who is intended to be perceived as a foil for the protagonist will almost always be an idiot, may enjoy drinking and fighting, be incredibly cheap (yet always broke), and will almost always speak with a Kansai Regional Accent
instantly recognizable to native speakers of Japanese. (In North American dubs, a Kansai/Osaka accent is usually rendered as
either a Deep South/Redneck accent
or a heavy Brooklyn accent
—the cultural connotations overlap sufficiently in either case that this works.)
How this stereotype arose is uncertain, but in anime it is not merely a trope
but a cliche
. Truth in Television
in the sense that it is a Real Life
stereotype. Usually, when someone from Kansai comes to Tokyo, he adopts a Tokyo accent. Someone who insists on speaking Kansai in Tokyo will be looked at as if he were some sort of idiot.
Alternately, an Osakan character may be a jokester. This character may actually be quite intelligent, but presents to the world a comedic face. The Boke and Tsukkomi Routine
is heavily associated with this kind of character thanks to a tradition of Kansai comedians.
that the trope title can be
a Sublime Rhyme
in Japanese ("Osaka no Baka").
Compare the Corrupt Hick
and Southern-Fried Private
for its North American counterparts.
- Sumiyoshi in Excel Saga. Compared to his roommates Watanabe and Iwata, however, he's the smartest of Excel's neighbors and probably the most normal character in the series. Unusually, his accent is rendered in English (in the translation of the manga) as a Geordie accent, which doesn't quite carry the same connotations (it's more associated with crudeness). Also, in the manga version of the story, he is not from Kansai proper, but instead is from Okayama prefecture (which is slightly to the west of the Kansai region).
- Sasshi in Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi. He's not just from Osaka — he lives in Osaka. When not hopping worlds back and forth, that is. He's still an idiot though.
- Osaka in Azumanga Daioh. Her name isn't Osaka; it's Ayumu Kasuga, but Tomo branded her with the nickname for being from Osaka. Like Sakaki, however, the humor in Osaka's character lay in how she doesn't act like her required stereotype: She's still not exactly bright, but she's an earnest, daydreaming airhead who's prone to strange thoughts, not a brash money-grubber; and she also didn't even speak in the stereotypical Kansai Regional Dialect, until she caved under Yukari's stubborn insistence that there's no need to "force" herself to speak in standard Japanese. Osaka is often teased for not saying things that a stereotypical person from Osaka should say. In the ADV Manga English translation, "Osaka" is apparently analogized to working-class Philadelphia (the dub of the anime recasts the accent as Texan, and the Yen Press translation likewise gives her a Southern accent). They even lampshade the naming in the show. She is actually listed in school under the name "Osaka", and laments that people keep viewing her that way.
- Kinnosuke from Itazura Na Kiss.
- Toji Suzuhara in Neon Genesis Evangelion, though he subverts the stereotype quite a bit by being of the most mentally stable and moral members of the cast. The English translation of the manga exchanges his Osaka accent for a Brooklyn one. Notably, the Self Parodying Audio Play, Evangelion: After the End, has Asuka outright insulting him by calling him a "country bumpkin".
- Kyousuke Kawachi in Yakitate!! Japan. He is occasionally referred to simply as "Kansai-ben" ("Kansai dialect") and is at one point openly mocked as being a comical side character only good for being excessively shocked at every little surprise.
- Sakura the kyuubi-fox in Hyper Police is both a trickster, since she is a kitsune, and moneygrubbing (homeless solely because it saves money). She also speaks with one of the thickest Kansei accents in anime.
- Kero-chan in Cardcaptor Sakura, despite being an ancient magical guardian, speaks in an Osakan accent and has many of the mannerisms: silly, cheerful, stubborn, etc. Sakura points this out to him the first time they meet; he claims it is because the Clow book was left in an Osaka library for thirty years so the accent rubbed off on him.
- Tarte from Fresh Pretty Cure! is a Weasel Mascot from another world who speaks with a Kansai accent.
- Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito:
- Ken-chan and Meirin. The two even have a Lampshade Hanging moment over how great it is to meet other Kansai people, even though neither of them comes from our actual universe.
- Later, Tamamonomae, who even has her Fan Nickname "Chichi kitsune" come from the Kansai dialect for breasts.
- The Prince of Tennis:
- Played with. Kintarou Touyama is a very naive and over-imaginative Wild Child who's also an excellent tennis player with fearsome physical strength and enough charm to befriend almost everyone he meets up with. The kid can even lift up small motorcycles with his bare hands, for crying it loud!
- On the other hand, this is subverted with the Oshitari cousins. Both Yuushi (from Hyoutei) and Kenya (from Shitenhouji, meaning he's Kintarou's sempai) are from the Kansai area and use the accent... but they're fairly smart and more-or-less serious guys. Lampshaded when local Plucky Comic Relief Hikaru "Dabide" Amane tries to get Yuushi roped ino the typical Osaka humor routines with him, but Oshitari is VERY peeved. (Though it's highly likely that Yuushi was just playing along, as the tsukkomi to Dabide's bokke. And on the other other hand, Atobe does treat Yuushi as The Idiot from Osaka quite often (for instance, when he overheard Yuushi and Kenya getting into an extremely silly argument over the phone). In the spirit of fairness, other times Atobe turns around and acts as if he (grudgingly) respects Yuushi's intelligence.
- Two of Kintarou's sempais, Data player Koharu Konjiki and his partner Yuuji Hitouji, actually use the "Osaka jokester" stereotype to their advantage in the courts; with their "Comedy Tennis" tactics, they manage to disrupt their rivals' concentration and get the upper hand.
- Shizuma Kusanagi from Real Bout High School is a pompous, Hot-Blooded showboat and is actually a little dim... however, he's a Genius Ditz music virtuoso, being particularly talented at guitar and piano but capable of playing almost any instrument competently. And the fact that he's from Kansai only comes up once.
- In Ranma ˝. Ukyou Kuonji has the accent but few idiotic tendencies, rather being a bifauxnen workaholic (itself a Kansai stereotype, but a different one) with possible yandere tendencies.
- Kanjani 8, a boyband devoted to the stereotype.
- Emishi Haruki, the "Fresh Blood Joker," in Get Backers. Also Natsuki Amon, who, it is explicitly mentioned, fakes an accent to come off as a cheerful buffoon.
- Joker in Flame of Recca.
- While not explicitly stated to be from the Kansai region, Ichiroku/M16A4 from Upotte speaks in an Osakan accent and has many of the mannerisms: silly, cheerful, stubborn, foul-mouthed.
- Mitsune "Kitsune" Konno, from Love Hina, who is almost never seen without her booze...except at one point, where it's replaced with vinegar. She isn't pleased.
- Sakuya Aizawa from Hayate the Combat Butler, who sees life as one huge Boke and Tsukkomi Routine.
- Zigzagged in Detective Conan by Osaka detective Heiji Hattori, who is just as brilliant as the Tokyo-dwelling main character, and also has a number of special skills, such as sword-fighting skill. He's also portrayed as a lot more amiable and prone to perpetrate practical jokes than the main character, though he is oftentimes a very serious character. Even so, Hattori and his prospect girlfriend Kazuha are BOTH prone to occasional fits of stereotypical Osakan obnoxiousness.
- Yurika Doujima from Witch Hunter Robin. She comes into work late, leaves early, and generally acts like a complete goof-off. Subverted a bit in that it's later revealed to be mostly Obfuscating Stupidity — she is capable of acting competently when the situation requires it.
- Oosawagi Natsumi in Ace Attorney (Lotta Hart in the localization) is a fiery tabloid photographer. Reportedly she was so much of an Osaka stereotype that one of the Osaka-born staff members took mild offense to her. In the localization she is from 'The Heartland' and speaks with an appropriate accent. Natsumi/Lotta often outright admits the fact that she is the walking embodiment of this trope and always fiercely tries to defend her homeland and de-power the stereotype by claiming that she's the only one who really fits the trope in Osaka/Rural America.
- Tasuki from Fushigi Yuugi.
- Magic Knight Rayearth:
- Caldina, the sexy Cool Big Sis and illusionist speaks in an Osaka accent... and averts this as she is not an idiot.
- May be played a bit straighter by Princess Tata, who also speaks in an Osaka accent and is very Hot-Blooded. Both her and Caldina are voiced by Osaka natives.
- Maido-kun/Howdy from Hamtaro.
- Hajime no Ippo has the brash and talkative Naniwa Tiger Takeshi Sendo. He's from Osaka, has a thick accent (and is voiced by an Osaka native), boxes because he loves to fight strong men, and used to be a gang leader in high school... to protect other people from harmful gangs. His grandmother's nickname for him is "idiot".
- In Kamen Rider Kiva, the boisterous rockstar wannabe Eritate Kengo fits this trope to a T, until midseason when it is revealed that he was always a Tokyo native, taking on the Kansai accent to come across as more personable. He also goes through a major attitude overhaul at this point, losing the accent and the hair and shifting to full Bad Ass gear.
- Browning in Transformers: Super-God Masterforce, comedic mascot.
- Thrust and Dirge in Beast Wars II, a comedy duo. Also Diver.
- Gusher (Slapper) in Transformers: Robots in Disguise.
- Shuichi Nakatsu from Hana-Kimi. And also his garishly dressed mother who is absolute comic relief.
- Played with and subverted in one episode of Dagashi Kashi, in which Hotaru pretends to be from Osaka as part of one of her Once an Episode rambling rants about dagashi. She's even able to affect the accent, albeit only sporadically. The fact that she's an idiot to start with (or at the very least a Cloud Cuckoo Lander / Ditz) makes it a very believable charade.
- Video game example: In Megaman Battle Network 3, Tora is so painfully stereotypically Osakan (despite being a literal, but not figurative, Chess Master) it even bleeds through into the English version of the game, even without any of the usual conventions of rendering a Kansai dialect.
- The Osaka team in Gantz takes the "idiot" in the trope title literally. Almost all of them are Ax-Crazy Trigger Happy bastards, and their complete lack of Team Spirit gets them brutally slaughtered.
- Li Kohran, from Sakura Wars. Despite being of Chinese descent, she speaks in an Osakan accent, since she was raised there. An idiot mechanical genius who is prone to having her creations blow up in her face. In one episode of the OVAs, she even threw in a random "What the heck" just for the Osakan reference.
- Nishiki from The Movie of Kamen Rider Hibiki, in keeping with the five movie Riders' Location Theming.
- Takane Katsu and the other Osakan characters in Burst Angel. A southern accent is used for the English dub.
- Tadao Yokoshima in Ghost Sweeper Mikami.
- In a meta-example, some of the character's behavior in the Generation II games becomes somewhat amusing when you remember that Johto is Kansai.
- Whitney has an Osaka accent in the Japanese version and, though she's not an idiot per se, she is a Genki Girl.
- Axis Powers Hetalia:
- Spain speaks and acts like this. Although, he's definitely not from Osaka.
- And actually averted with the guy who represents the Osaka prefecture, who is kind of a keet but not an idiot.
- Mentioned in Gai Gin when Gin is planning to meet some netfriends in Osaka. According to her sources they talk with a weird dialect and "Oh yeah, they are all completely insane." When we meet him, though, the Kansai-born Pyon is perfectly intelligent and nice, despite a childish sense of humour (he takes delight in learning the meaning of the English word "boogers").
- Spiderman is a living parody of Osaka people: Kansai Regional Accent? Check! Very Greedy and materialistic? Check! Likes a lot of Takoyaki?. Check!
- Tsubame from Ai Kora.
- Rika from Inazuma Eleven may count, consider her Stalker with a Crush tract on Ishinose Kazuya.
- Nezumi from Alien vs. Ninja is a textbook example, albeit a live-action one.
- In Death Note Misa Amane is from Kansai. Subverted because she doesn't speak in Osaka-ben, despite having lived in Osaka before she came into the plot; not that surprising since many people from the Kansai region learn to speak in the "Tokyoite accent" so as to fit in or at least to not stand out, and in Misa's case it's a vital necessity since she's a Teen Idol and needs to have a broad appeal.
- Video game example: In the Japanese version of Sonic Rush Adventure, Marine The Racoon is definitely this trope. In the English version, she has an Australian accent. Since Sonic Team is based in the United States, we may never know which was adapted from which.
- Kintaros from Kamen Rider Den-O isn't actually from Osaka, but speaks the dialect. And while he's not an idiot, he is kind of The Ditz; in his spotlight story arc, his contractor wanted to become the best karate-ka he could, so Kintaros trained his body...with Sumo. And didn't realize it until a couple of preteen boys told him.
- Erika from Ginga E Kickoff is from Osaka, and proud of it. She's a loud tomboy and a natural comedian.
- Averted by Naru Osaka, in Sailor Moon who seems to be relatively well-adjusted for someone who is kidnapped every five seconds in the early series. In fact, in her first appearances she comes off as being quite more levelheaded than Usagi. (Not that it's too hard.)
- The shopkeeper — Shilleka — from Etrian Odyssey.
- Hikoichi Aida from Slam Dunk. His older sister Yayoi is much more savvy, but prone to silliness once in a while.
- Akiko Narumi in Kamen Rider Double, whose foolishness comes more from being somewhat sheltered and being the Audience Surrogate, emigrating to Fuuto in the first episode. Her father Sokichi thoroughly averts this, though it's unclear if he was Osakan or if his family simply lived there. Making it even funnier, a Monster of the Week puts Akiko in an Imagine Spot which transplants the plot to Osaka, including Philip and Ryu Terui transformed into stereotypical lazy Osakans while Shotaro is the Fish out of Water transplant from the big city. In Philip's case it may be an Actor Allusion, as Masaki Suda actually is from Osaka.
- Discussed in Krakow;
Tom, have you noticed
that Yamaguchi-san speaks with an Osaka accent? Tom:
She's from Osaka? Boss:
No, she's from Kanto. But Yamaguchi-san is a very unrefined, gruff woman. She also drinks heavily
and is overly obsessed with money. Tom:
But... that doesn't make any sense! Boss:
*thhk* It would seem you do not understand Japanese culture.
- Mostly averted in Kill la Kill. Kaneo Takarada lives in Osaka and fits the stereotype of a greedy son of a bitch, but he's also a tactical mastermind who gives Honnouji Academy's forces a run for their money.
- Mostly averted by Captain Tsubasa's Makoto Souda, who is NOT an idiot but a Combat Pragmatist. He does play up the Hot-Blooded and arrogant side of the stereotype, however. And pays dearly for it when Napoleon goes Genre Savvy and provokes him into getting himself kicked out of the Japan vs. France game.
- As a note for those curious, the reason this stereotype exists is because Osaka's forms of industry and production are generally less demanding than many of the kinds found within Tokyo. This coupled with a much less crowded city causes the people of Osaka to not need to be in as much of a hurry to get anywhere as is somewhat required in Tokyo. As a result, the people on average (by Japanese standard anyway) tend to be more laid back, calm, and openly friendly in personality (which also makes Osakans on average more welcoming of foreigners than people from Tokyo). Being so distinctly different in personality from the capital's residents tends to make Tokyo perceive Osaka as a place that is too informal and doesn't take everything seriously enough. Which isn't true, but that's how stereotypes work.
- Noriko Nishikawa from Urayasu Tekkin Kazoku. Kotetsu's poor neighbor and classmate who can stand up being a tough kid and has just as bad grades as his.
- Asuka Kazama from Tekken.
- Minoru Uesugi, aka Green Racer, from Gekisou Sentai Carranger is depicted as hailing from Osaka. Similar to the Kamen Rider Double example above for Philip, this may be an Actor Allusion as Minoru's actor, Yoshihiro Fukuda, is also from Osaka.
- Youko Shiragami from My Monster Secret is actually fairly smart (she does quite well in her studies), but can be surprisingly ditzy. On the other hand, the entire premise of the series is that every single character is "just a little dumb", so she's got plenty of company in that regard. But she definitely fits the cheerful, stubborn and competitive parts. Her father Genjirou also qualifies for the same reasons.
- Sgt. Frog: Keroro, but without the accent. Whenever he has one of his money-making schemes he gains one, and eats takoyaki.
- Babblong from Yo-Kai Watch has an Osaka accent in the Japanese version. He is extremely talkative, prone to boring rambling, and has a Gag Nose. Anyone he possesses also begins to speak with an an Osaka accent. The English dub made him into a parody of Jimmy Durante.
- In the Japanese dubs of the Shrek movies, the eponymous character (played with a Scottish accent in English), voiced by Masatoshi Hamada, is given a Kansai accent to match his violent, crude, and temperamental personality (as supposedly the Scottish accent does as well).