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Serious Business: Anime & Manga
  • The Red Line race. Justified because the betting and advertising make a ton of money, and according to Lynchman 'there's enough money riding on this race to buy several planets!'
  • To Tomoki in Heaven's Lost Property, everything perverted is extremely serious business. To the extent of spending half a year building a system that would allow him to monitor the best peeping spots in the city without leaving his room and using a Peeping Satellite for a similar purpose. He actually almost won a wrestling tournament through sheer pervertedness.
  • In the world of Yu-Gi-Oh! and especially the sequel Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, the card game of "Duel Monsters" is a global phenomenon. National tournaments, academies, politics, etc. all revolve around a fairly simple collectible card game. And this isn't even including the mystical occult properties, known only to a few: that Duel Monsters is actually based on magical games powerful ancient Egyptians used to play. Yes, ancient Egyptians. From the latter part of the first series onward and in every subsequent series to date, Duel Monsters becomes a Cosmic Keystone or a method of manipulating one. Should children really be playing this card game?
    • The main villain of the Battle City arc is fond of making the game serious with human lives at stake.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series shows that by replacing the term 'Duel Monsters' with 'a children's card game,' every conversation sounds ten times more ridiculous. They are also baffled when an actual child tries to play it.
    • GX's protagonist Judai attempts time and again to convince his opponents that their reasons for getting into the game are wrong, and need to remember that the main point of the game is to have fun. Pretty amusing when you consider that these people go to a prestigious boarding school for the sole purpose of learning how to play it better.
      • Judai eventually stops enjoying the game in Season 4 after spending most of Season 3 playing with his and/or other's lives at stake. The two-part finale, after all the villains have been defeated, consists of him regaining the sense of fun he'd lost... by going back in time to duel Yugi.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has pushed this whole nonsense even further by revealing cardgames are the foundation of the universe, rather than just mere ancient Egyptian game of power.
    • At one point during GX, Duel Monsters is placed next to business and politics in terms of importance and world-control. You heard me. A CHILDREN'S CARD GAME HAS REPLACED RELIGION IN TERMS OF GLOBAL IMPORTANCE.
      • At one point early in GX, it takes a fleet of ships with plenty of air support to deliver a single briefcase of rare cards to Duel Academy, and the captain implies that there were actually people willing to attack them over the cards. There weren't any Egyptian Gods or anything with supernatural powers involved; they were just really good playing cards.
    • Crowler's comments in the dub suggests that it is possible to get a friggin' PhD in dueling.
    • How serious is this children's card game Duel Monsters? Well, the only people who actually enjoy playing it are apparently people like Judai. You know, the kind that is usually really bad unless they're the protagonist. There's also sciences and mathematics entirely devoted to dueling, and a pro duelist named Eisenstein with an equation for dueling that starts E=MC... something or other.
    • The English dub for Yu-Gi-Oh! GX lampshades this at one point. Chazz is upset because he's being upstaged by a new guy who's absurdly wealthy.
    Chazz: "Who cares if he's better looking and so what if he's richer than I am. I'm really good at playing card games! And that's what life is really all about, anyway!"
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds brings out the absurd even more where this card game has reshaped the class system of the world and people are willing to risk their lives in deadly motorcycle crashesnote  to play the stupid game. And all the broken friendships over a single stupid move.
    • You think that's crazy, the card game has taken importance in the justice system of 5Ds. When police encounter a criminal escaping on a D-Wheel they hack its computer and force the criminal to duel, the looser forcibly stopped. If they could force the duel they should be able to just force the D-Wheel to stop and skip the duel all together, but they deliberately give runaways the chance to resist arrest! If the runaway wins, they don't even challenge him again, they just let him go!
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL doesn't play it up as much, but it still manages to top its predecessors. Card games are used to decide the fate of three different universes, but in the end it was mainly on account of the villains being that crazy rather than card games being that important.
      • Oh, really? Turns out that there's a card called "Numeron Code" that created all of reality.
      • In one episode, Anna tries to get revenge on Yuma for supposedly standing her up (it turned out to be a case of Mistaken Identity). Despite being strong enough to punch through concrete and wielding a massive cannon, she agrees to settle the matter in a duel when Yuma suggests it. Kotori even says that doesn't make any sense.
    • Kaiba actually goes over his duel with Yugi (which ends in Yami Yugi's Mind Rape of him) from every angle, including quantum analysis. What the carbon-14 of Kaiba's Blue Eyes White Dragon turning into nitrogen-14 (for example) has to do with anything is beyond the viewers.
    • "Stop Having Fun" Guys like Seto Kaiba and Siegfried often mock Joey for using luck-based cards, claiming that he's not a real duelist. At one point in 5Ds, Kiryu uses a luck-based card, and Yusei starts flipping out and asking what he's doing. Kiryu tells him to relax, it's just a game.
    • At one point in 5Ds, Sherry and her butler try to attack Luciano and Jose with hand-to-hand combat. They basically go WTF?, easily beat them down, then call them fools for thinking they could achieve anything without dueling.
  • Akagi breaks people's minds by playing Mahjong. The fact that there is an extreme amount of money riding on each game probably helps, as does the fact that he is effectively playing semi-legal gambling games with mobsters, who do in fact murder people in real life over not paying debts created by rigging or attempting to rig games of skill or chance.
  • Initial D: Street racing + Serious Business. That some people get like this in real life just makes it all the more hilarious.
  • Tonari no Seki-kun is a gag manga about a boy who get invested in his games to the point of crying and freaking out, and a girl with a a lot of imagination, treating everything as incredible, even if we're talking about a cactus plushie or Othello. It was bound to happen.
  • One of the main charming quirks of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is how it presents utterly ridiculous concepts, takes them very seriously and actually makes them genuinely feel serious. As an example there are serious, life-threatening battles involving things like betting the characters' souls on a baseball video game and playing a game of deadly rock-paper-scissors while flying high above a town with high speed WITH NO EXPLANATION WHATSOEVER.
    • Gambling on video games actually makes perfect sense. Terrence D'Arby is a man in his 20's who's really, really good at video games. Since nearly all his opponents are not (especially since this was a time when it was largely considered a kiddie fad), if they have no choice but to fight on his terms (or else lose an ally's soul and possibly their own), that gives him a huge advantage. Any time life and death is involved, Serious Business is a given.
  • In Beyblade, the sport of Beyblading itself. It seems like if anyone wants to Take Over the World, they have to do it with duelling tops.
    • It is not so much as the tops as the "Bit Beasts" - artificial or spiritual entities of animals that allow the tops to pack as much yield as a nuclear bomb without the nasty side effects. Serious Business however.
      • Incredibly powerful spirits of animals that are used mainly utilized for playing a children's game. As powerful as nuclear weapon, and they are put in spinning tops used by children to win a game.
      • This is justified by those spinning tops being derived by actual weapons and those spirits, when unsealed, preferring to reside inside weapons (Dragoon was first seen staying inside a sword before moving inside Takao's beyblade).
    • Even without the "take over the world" angle, the sport of Beyblading is able to fill stadiums specifically built for it, so there is some serious money there.
  • In Code Geass there are luxurious underground gambling clubs for chess, frequented by millionaires, Mafia bosses and the like. Bring your own extremely expensive chess board and bet a fortune.
    • Averted. The gambling club was not for chess specifically. There were lots of different games available. Chess just happened to be Lelouch's game of choice, so it received the most attention.
    • Also: using a giant robot to make pizza. And everything else related to the Absurdly Powerful Student Council, for that matter.
  • As far as Gintoki from Gintama is concerned, Shonen Jump and sugar are both extremely serious business.
    • EVERYTHING is serious business in Gintama; eating hotpot, eating contests, gambling, collecting beetles, strawberry milk, pet pageants, being a fanboy, being an otaku, gaining weight, losing weight, separating your garbage, being hado boerudo, playing console games/MMORPGs, acquiring paper to wipe your butt. Even being a neet. And it's hilarious.
  • Bakugan suffers from this, to the point where it almost seems to be a parody of the Mon genre. Sadly, it is not. It's just an anime that apparently has children who are overly attached to their Bakugan, and don't get started about how the Bakugan Universe gets into this matter.
  • Subverted in Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer, CLAMP's version of a typical shonen battle-game series. At first, it seems to fit perfectly, as Angelic Layer matches are broadcast on the sides of buildings to large crowds, Angels are treated as Companion Cubes, and Shuuko has abandoned her daughter in favor of playing professionally. However, as we progress through the series, we realize that it was just a busy public place where people wanted to watch a sport (much like football), people that take the game too seriously frequently learn from being defeated that they should just have fun, and Shuuko's debilitating self-loathing, which propelled her to leave her child, is cured by her coworkers' support and her daughter's forgiveness. Most people see the competition as just a game—albeit a tad odd.
  • Similarly in Gundam Build Fighters, where Mr. Ral explains to Reiji that people do recognize that Gunpla Battle is a game based on fictional works, but it's because it's just a game that people can take it so seriously and have fun doing so.
    • And then we have the Renato Brothers, who one-up the conventional Gunpla players with their warfare tactics and treating their fights as war.
  • Duel Masters is another card game anime. It's not quite as blatant about it as Yu-Gi-Oh!, but stadiums are still packed full of spectators watching our heroes play cards.
    • The dub made it into an explicit parody.
    • It helps that both Duel Masters and Yugioh started off as parodying Magic: The Gathering, which has it's own fair share of serious business (but sadly, the latter is a real life phenomenon).
  • Bread is treated as Serious Business in Yakitate!! Japan, although given the wondrous properties of the hero's own bread, (including the ability to rearrange the fabric of reality and send people back in time), perhaps this shouldn't be surprising.
    • The whole point of the series is hanging lampshades on this trope.
      • Kuroyanagi has made it clear that he's willing to risk bodily harm and even death for the sake of a reaction. Most evident in the jam match between Kanmuri and Tsutsumi, where his reactions consist of shoving his face into a bowl of boiling hot, flaming jam and suffering serious burns, and then trying to climb into a large pot in order to smoke himself to death.
      • Another reaction has him run off and marry a random Gonk woman with the last name Shima just so he can change his surname (he ends up divorcing her just in time to taste the competition's bread.)
    • Saijou no Meii, by the same author, takes this trope in a completely different direction by applying an over the top Shonen Manga mindset to something that actually is serious, namely Pediatric Surgery.
  • In Ai Kora, quite a number of characters seem to take their personal fetishes far too seriously (including the protagonist!) Chapter 42 involves Maeda butting heads with a band of militant meganekko fetishists, who are up in arms over a fake glasses fad and go around breaking the glasses of "false" meganekko. And according to chapter 45, pantyhose is serious business.
  • Arguably, the moral lesson of Martian Successor Nadesico is that treating Humongous Mecha Anime as Serious Business can cause, or at least exacerbate, all manner of death and destruction. If nothing else, the series constantly employs Mood Whiplash to keep its own audience from taking it too seriously.
    • The whole thing kind of falls apart when you realize the Space Whale Aesop buried within: "Don't be a fan of Super Robot anime, or else you'll go crazy and try to destroy humanity!" More so, the interesting Fridge Logic sinks in when you realize they made a Giant Robot anime to teach people the lesson that... you shouldn't be learning any lessons from Giant Robot anime.
  • The gondolier business in ARIA consumes all of the protagonists' lives. Sure, it's their profession, but they're just transporting tourists through the canals of New Venice and it is indicated that they'll stop once they get married.
  • As Hayate the Combat Butler advances its plot, it seems the butler career becomes more and more Serious Business. The bare minimum seems to be equivalent to applying for a shounen fighting manga's character job. Props if you also have a Finishing Move.
    • You act as though having a Finishing Move is a bonus. It is made abundantly clear early on that all butlers should have at least one.
  • Lucky Star's Anime Tenchou brings gallons of hot blood, various superpowers and nuclear explosions to the humble business of running a comic and animation store. Why can't real managers be like this guy? And wait till you see his boss... Bonus points for being voiced by Tomokazu Seki.
  • In the manga Iron Wok Jan, Chinese cooking competitions can fill stadiums and attract celebrity judges, and a particularly famous food critic is a popular celebrity. There's even a shadowy organization that secretly controls all food production and distribution throughout Asia and is trying to take over the Chinese cooking industry of Japan by defeating Japan's top young chefs in a cooking competition.
  • Characters in Hunter × Hunter think deeply and strategically about everything they do, in hilariously excessive detail, from playing rock-paper-scissors to using Internet search engines to making sushi to buying antiques to guessing a secondary character's gender. At one point, a character haggles down the price of a cell phone, and a crowd bursts out into applause.
  • Hikaru no Go: The main characters take the game of Go very seriously. In this sense it's Truth in Television, and you'll know it if you know any professional players. However, it is made clear that the world at large doesn't particularly care about the game, even when it knows it exists.
  • Grander Musashi takes sports fishing very seriously, to the point that anglers call out a technique whenever they throw fishing lines into the water, and treat their fishing rods and lures as Companion Cubes. There's even an academy that trains would-be anglers in the dark arts of fishing. In the sequel, seven divine lures that everybody is after created by Poseidon are the reason for the sinking of Atlantis.
  • Keroro Gunsou plays with this trope by having Keroro and Giroro treat everything from vacuuming, to going to the beach, to jumping rope, as though it were either a major military operation or a Cooking Duel to decide the fate of the galaxy.
  • Lunch becomes serious business in one episode of Ah! My Goddess, with Skuld and Mara fighting over a boxed lunch with bombs and magic, culminating in Skuld throwing herself off a roof to catch it before it hits the ground.
  • Metal Fighter Miku makes women's wrestling serious business.
  • Likewise, Kinnikuman features wrestling matches that can decide the fate of the earth, and are frequently to the death.
  • The Japanese junior high school tennis circuit in The Prince of Tennis.
  • Rika (Ruki) in the English dub of Digimon Tamers. While all the characters are perhaps a little overly into the Digimon card game even before having to use their cards to save the world, Rika is by far the most intense. She is even appalled at her mother for not taking the childrens' card game seriously enough.
    • This is the whole reason she got a Mon in the first place.
  • In Macademi Wasshoi, a good portion of the school is made to run a magical Death Course, no holds barred, to decide the next school uniform. The students who aren't putting their butts on the line watch this in a large stadium with commentary, video cameras, the works. Serious Business indeed.
    • Sakuma takes dramatic deaths (going so far as to hand a person a gun), and Moe fetishes seriously (he wreaks explosive violence on someone for tricking him with fake moe glasses)
  • In Suzumiya Haruhi, a baseball game decided the fate of the world given that Team SOS-dan were playing against a really good baseball team. Their loss would aggravate Haruhi as she's a Reality Warper, and a sore loser, and would mean The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Battle B-Daman. Apparently, in the "B-Da World", a person's social position, level of respect and moral actions are defined by playing marbles. Not playing B-Daman is something so bad that people don't even recognize you as a person (that's the message that the first episode gives to us). Playing with marbles is also a good way to take over the world and be a world-threatening criminal.
  • 801 T.T.S. Airbats has a ramen-eating contest bet on by not only the entire JSSDF, but Chinese and American troops as well.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Negi and Fate attempt to have a diplomatic meeting and nearly come to blows while arguing about whether tea or coffee is superior. The negotiations later fail for an unrelated reason.
  • One H-manga by Shiwasu no Okina applies this to fellatio. The competition between one high school's competing fellatio clubs is a matter of life or death.
  • Welcome to the NHK does this with hentai games, though that might just be an exaggeration to reflect Satou and Yamazaki's respective mental derangements.
    • It becomes much more serious if you want to make money by making a hentai game.
  • In SHUFFLE!, the instant fanclubs in the anime have carried over into real life, with Ship-to-Ship Combat.
  • xxxHolic: Watanuki gives a Breaking Speech to a woman he is teaching cooking because she won't eat what she cooks, as she doesn't want to know herself and will not eat what people she is familiar with make either. Yea, that's right. If you don't eat your own cooking or others, it means you don't know yourself or them and are afraid of commitment. Or something.
    • Being a TV psychic who's accused of giving false readings is apparently heinous enough in xxxHolic to warrant physical assault (even if the psychic is a young girl) and vandalism of the psychic's house.
  • Air Gear: roller skating is serious business, with a huge subculture, tournaments, gang wars, and a special police force dedicated to catching (read: often brutally injuring) unruly Air Treckers. The manga makes a point of addressing this trope. Both Simca and Ikki state that A.T.s should be for fun, and not used as tools for violence or control.
    • Further on in the Air Gear manga, a cameo appearance from BARACK OBAMA reveals that the roller-skates are pivotal to his plans of change. Seriously.
      • It's later revealed that in-universe the technology developed for Air Trecks was integrated into everything, from transportation to weapons technology, and the Sky Regalia is a universal remote that would allow the owner, for example, to control the world's nuclear weapons stockpiles. So yes, Serious Business.
  • Beauty Pop treats styling this way, to the point where heroine Kiri inherits her super-stylist father's special techniques: The Corkscrew, the Whirlwind, the Wizard, and their signature faster-than-the-eye-can-follow precision hair-cutting.
  • In Read or Die, books are most definitely serious business.
    • Justified in the TV series, where the British Library is enacting a multi-generational plan to take over the world by rewriting history. Taking control of the world's books is just the first step.
  • Bakusou Kyoudai! Let's & Go!! is a series about racing miniature cars, which is serious business.
    • Strangely, it starts out rather normal since mini 4wd is somewhat a serious hobby (car modification and care) in the first place. It's Big Bad who's trying to turn racing into war and the heroes' responses that makes things ridiculous.
  • Kitchen Princess, like the Beauty Pop example above, treats baking and pastry-making as though it could create world peace if heroine Najika could just make the perfect flan.
  • In Chūka Ichiban!, also called Cooking Master Boy, cooking badly in an established restaurant and insulting certain chefs are federal crimes. Impersonating a renowned chef is like treason. Being the emperor's chef and/or taste tester makes you one of the highest ranked persons in China, even when retired. There is an exam that takes place every four years to become a "Super Chef", which officially makes you as high ranked as a military general or even higher. Then there's the Underground Cooking Society that aims to control China through the cooking industry and magic cooking utensils.
  • Saki does this with Mahjong, more or less. It's fairly toned down compared to most examples here, with nothing more riding on the games than would be in Real Life. On the other hand, high school tournaments get national broadcasts, there's trading cards of professional players, and generally very little to suggest that the average person in the Saki universe isn't fond of the game.
    • And in The Legend of Koizumi mahjong is even more Serious Business. World politics are decided by secret high-stakes Mahjong games.
      • Not just world politics, but whether or not the world will be taken over by NAZIS FROM THE MOON, led by Hitler, whose Mahjong powers are so awesome he has gone SUPER SAIYAN.
      • According to the Pope, God used Mahjong to create the world.
  • Jumbor Barutronica: Construction workers are heroes and knights, riding giant robots equipped with excavator equipment, and cloned children implanted with the memories of worker-heroes with shape-shifting, liquid metal hands that turn into giant shovels and drills. Justified, as it is set two-thousand years in the future, with the world in shambles because of pollution, so re-constructing the earth is vitally important. But... Construction Knights! On Giant Robots! Shape-Shifting Clones!
  • This is true of the Pokémon universe, with its hospitals, schools, and criminal organizations centered around Pokémon.
    • Beat the bad guy threatening to take over the world in a Pokémon battle, and his plan is foiled.
    • In Sinnoh Ash and co met up with a villain who was willing to turn weapons and Pokemon on humans, as well as deal with the issue of Pokemon poaching and kidnapping. Hunter J was by far one of the more terrifying villains, and show that there are people in the Pokemon universe who are evil, practical and downright ruthless (which is a stark contrast to the hilarious Rocket trio, who half the time forget they're even villains, at least before they Took a Level in Badass in Best Wishes-but even then, they don't come close to her). Even more so was that she had the same reason as Rocket: To kidnap rare and powerful Pokemon to sell to the highest bidder. Unlike the Rocket Trio, she succeeded most of the time.
    • Zoey has a very low opinion on trainers who compete in both Pokemon contests and gym battles, saying that someone who does both is not taking it as seriously. She's since mellowed out about it.
    • The fourth episode of the anime has a Bug Catcher type Pokémon trainer who dresses and acts like a samurai, treating his bug Pokémon catching profession as seriously as a samurai would treat his duties.
  • In Bartender, making cocktails is most definitely serious business, with businesses and futures hanging in the balance.
  • Hachimaki are Serious Business in the world of Afro Samurai, with the Number One headband apparently conferring the powers and responsibilities of a God, and only the Number Two headband has the right to challenge the holder of the Number One headband.
  • In Bakuman。, working on manga is treated as a true calling that could very well threaten your life, like firefighting or something.
    • In fact, the main character's uncle dies from exhaustion from working on his manga before the start of the series.
      • However, this can be justified by the Truth in Television of the staggering amount of people in Japan who die of overwork. His uncle had been focusing only on his manga and setting aside sleeping and eating properly.
  • Ranma ˝. Martial arts is serious enough in real life, but when you have martial arts tea ceremonies, martial arts take out races, martial arts cooking, and many, many, many others, you know it must be Serious Business.
  • Sex is serious business in School Rumble. Guy students stampeding towards the museum to see Itoko's nude portrait or conducting clandestine meetings to determine who is the hottest girl in their school (again Itoko) is nothing new.
  • While the game itself isn't an incredible amount more popular (possibly unintentionally) than current MMO's are, The World in .hack//SIGN has players who take it a little too seriously sometimes. Especially groups like the Crimson Knights, who are becoming thuggish police types in a video game. The serious business was probably more obvious when the show was new and MMO's did not have nearly as high a number of player bases and twenty million seemed an absurd number. Though it's the only big MMO in the setting. There are other small ones, but they never took off. A past super virus wiped out every operating system except Altimat, and as The World came with Altimat, everyone with a computer had the game.
    • With the exception of the super virus, that still sounds like Truth in Television. WoW is so popular that all other MMOs could be called "other small ones" by comparison.
    • That said, the popularity of The World is still incredibly head tilting, given that outside of the Virtual Reality portion, it's less intricate than Diablo 1.
    • All that aside, it's partially justified in SIGN's case; for Tsukasa, it really is a matter of life or death.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia: "Whether it be games or cleaning, it's Serious Business to me!"
    • A lot of characters have this, despite Germany being the worst: Italy, China and France are a little too obsessed with food, England's got Busby's Chair, and... well, anything America does, really.
    • Monaco bets dates on Poker while loudly proclaiming that she's "very strong" and laughing.
  • Parodied and inverted in Detroit Metal City, where music fans assume that the titular band has demonic power over the universe, commit terrorist crimes and that the lead singer is a god. None of that is true whatsoever, but the band's fans act as if it was. On a smaller scale, the police assume that DMC is the root of all crime in the area.
    • The band Helvete actually does what DMC claims to do, their fans even blew up buildings for them.
  • D.Gray-Man's Kanda is willing to fight his way through the entire staff of the Black Order to fix his Slipknot Ponytail after Bookman steals his hair tie. There is epic posing and Battle Aura involved.
  • Gil from Pandora Hearts removes the Power Limiter on an Eldritch Abomination to get his hat back. The Eldritch Abomination in question was engaged in an arm-wrestling match at the time.
  • Eyeshield 21 takes football to the extreme. While the players are a bit more justified, since, well, they spend nearly everyday training for the game and will break into tears at losing, the audience, on the other hand, has no excuse. It's a full crowd for all the later games and some schools focus almost entirely on the sport. This is American football. In Japan. And it's constantly being lampshaded that the audience (both in the series and real life) has no idea what is going on. To be fair, Japan won two American football World Cups and hosted the latest one, where they came in second. In real life.
    • Taken to the extreme with the Teikoku Alexanders, who have over 200 players from across Japan divided into 6 strings, while your average NFL team has a maximum of 53. And to advance in the ranking you have to memorize over 1,000 plays and run 40 yards in under 5 seconds.
    • While not Truth in Television, it's actually not all that unbelievable for a sports club in Japan. For example, high school baseball is so insanely popular that a team with a good chance of making it to the Koushien (the Christmas Bowl of baseball) will have 150+ members (and like Teikoku, most of those players are 2nd-6th stringers who act as lackeys).
    • So while there aren't actual football teams in Japan that are that big, if the sport were to get extremely popular (and presumably that's the sort of universe Eyeshield takes place in), a team like Teikoku would not be unrealistic, unlike in America.
  • We all know that Tests in Real Life are Serious Business. In Baka Test? Waaaaaaaaaay too serious.
    • Similarly, in one episode of Dai Mahou Touge, Punie threatens to blow up the solar system if she fails a test.
  • P2! Let's Play Ping Pong! is a manga where... well, you can probably guess what's Serious Business there.
  • Smiles in Grenadier. If Rushuna's got a dirty look on her face, and informs you that you're not getting a smile, Run.
    • Truth be told, you really have to push Rushuna extremely far for her to stop smiling.
  • In Nononono, ski jumping is apparently a very important sport in Japan—important enough to have masses of people threaten the safety of an athlete and his family for not winning a medal.
  • In the Nue arc of Mononoke, "The 'Hearing' of Incense" is such serious business that a game where the players try to determine minute differences between pieces of incense made from the same type of tree is used to to decide whose marriage proposal is accepted!
  • An omake for A Certain Scientific Railgun involves a group of scientists dispatching a special ops force in order to find out what type of panties Misaka Mikoto wears. They also sent a request to the supercomputer Tree Diagram, who told them not to use it for such a small thing.
  • Future GPX Cyber Formula: Auto racing is already serious business in real life, but when it's set in the future, you got AI-computer equipped race cars complete with booster engines and there's insane racing courses (in the TV series), you know it's really serious business.
  • Shakugan no Shana: Ike planning a theme park trip. That is serious business. Overlaps with Mundane Made Awesome.
  • A short scene in One Piece depicts Luffy getting angry over the fact a restaurant doesn't serve meat. When offered shellfish, he replies with "Shellfish isn't meat! Meat is serious business!"
    Luffy: This flag is a promise of life. You don't fly it lightly!!! IT'S NOT SOMETHING TO BE LAUGHED AT OR SHOT AT!!!
  • The Delta Force class (especially Touma, Aogami, and Tsuchimikado) in A Certain Magical Index take Serious Business Up to Eleven. Seeing Komoe-sensei shed a tear? Go pull off an all-out war in a a school festival! No more food in the cafeteria because the class was dismissed late? Organize a small scale break out so some members can go get some food from a local store. Someone mention Nabe? Let's all go out too eat~!
  • In Toriko, food is serious business. Seriously. Gigantic supermonsters that could level cities are hunted by warriors, not for the treasure they might guard, but because they're insanely delicious. Gourmet meals can cost billions, if not trillions, of yen, and they have special jails dedicated just for food related crimes. Including dine and dash.
    • The reason for this? It's because with Gourmet Cells, people can gain super powers by consistently eating their favorite foods, and from eating certain ultra-rare foods, and a centuries long war was once stopped by a legendary chef who created the ultimate food, called God.
  • In Summer Wars, the Japanese card game Hanafuda is used to decide marriages and fight the Big Bad using Cyberspace accounts to set the stakes.
    • Justified, like with many examples, as said big bad used its influence to access the world's collective nuclear pile, making the situation rather serious.
  • Strawberry Cake is VERY serious especially the Strawberry on top, just ask Mio, Yui, another Mio, Chiri, Erza,Yotsuba and Mrs. Ayase.
  • The show Dog Days manages to invert this trope. War is serious business in Real Life, but in their world it's a perfectly safe sporting event.
    • Also an inversion, as extremely powerful demons/monsters pose a very real potential threat, making such 'wars' a necessity for the training of soldiers. Money is also involved, so it can be at least as important as other betting sports.
  • Blue Exorcist has an overly dramatic cooking fight in episode 6.
  • To Tiger & Bunny's Sky High, birthday parties are very serious business.
    Sky High: Thanks to you, our surprise party was ruined. I worked hard to remember my lines.
  • Sawako of Kimi ni Todoke and Erza from Fairy Tail take everything seriously.
  • In the manga Gamble Fish, gambling is SERIOUS BUSINESS. In a prestigious private school, once main character Shirasagi Tomu enters, it descends into the the insanity of gambling, where people not only bet millions of yen, but even body parts. In. A. School.
  • In K-On!, cake is very serious business.
    • And light music, naturally.
  • Makoto from Wandering Son takes female clothing very seriously.
  • Kazemakase Tsukikage Ran: Ran almost started a fight over watered down sake. She says it's as precious as blood.
  • Ben-To: Half-priced bentos are VERY serious to the point there is all out war, and rules regarding combat.
  • The Idolmaster - Well, the 765Pro Agency is a Serious Business.
  • An example predating many of these: In Speed Racer, racing is serious business. Lots of drivers play rough and several people are rammed off the road to their deaths over the course of the show.
  • Sora from Family Compo takes manga making very serious. It's his job and all, but sometimes he seems a bit extreme.
  • Scan2 Go, a car-racing toy, is taken way too seriously by the main characters considering that, even in-universe, they are just toy cars. The fact that Hot-Blooded main character Kaz Gordon takes it way too seriously and doesn't know how to relax is depicted as a character flaw.
    "Do not underestimate Scan2go!"
  • Kurogane (2011): A manga based around the INTENSE world of High School Kendo where success in matches, tournaments and major life decisions are usually determined due to Flaw Exploitation, Hyper Awareness and the occasional advice from samurai ghosts.
  • In Girls und Panzer, tankery, which, in this universe, is also a competitive sport played by schoolgirls in order to refine their womanly attributes, is considered this way. Hana and Miho have, respectively, been disowned for participating in tankery note , and been slated for disinheritance for not upholding the honor of the family's practice of tankery. The Nishizumi family is said to be the strictest of all the tankery schools, and Maho once points out that a single loss in 10,000 battles is enough to get expelled.
  • In Addicted to Curry this happens for curry: friendships grow and die by the curry pot and high-stakes cooking competitions decide the future of the main character more than once.
  • My Bride Is a Mermaid has several examples:
    • Sun and Lunar's respective fan clubs turn the school into a literal war zone battling over whether Sun or Lunar is better. Which is especially absurd as Sun and Lunar's rivalry is completely one-sided and only Lunar actually cares.
    • Mawari tends to take this approach to enforcing her brand of justice. Which is fine, as she wants to be a police commissioner one day. Unfortunately, she generally goes overboard and enforces rules like "no walking more than two abreast on the sidewalk" with the same gusto that's generally reserved for laws like "no murdering".
    • Mermaid priorities are a bit... different from human priorities: Sun's father (a yakuza boss posing as a teacher calls in his elite (in name only) squad of fighters, pulls the fire alarm, and evacuates the school... because Nagasumi brought a cat to class.
  • Kill la Kill is full of this, though unlike most examples, the over-the-top World of Ham is 100 percent intentional and part of the absurd charm. Literally everything related to school, including tennis matches and the freakin' sewing club, are part of some grander world domination scheme. Oh yeah, and clothes are Fascism.
  • Variable Geo takes the trope to literal extremes. The plot centers on an official tournament for combat waitresses, who are competing for the ultimate prize: 10 million yen, a choice piece of prime real estate, and a year's worth of free advertising for their establishment.
    • What's more, VG is such a big deal, that some of the participants even have corporate sponsors, and multi-national conglomerates have stock market shares in the tournament. And one scene shows that the Prime Minister, himself, takes time out of his schedule to watch VG matches!
  • In Haiyore! Nyarko-san human media is a strictly regulated commodity among the various races of the Cthulhu mythos, complete with smuggling rings to get around the limitations on how much can be taken at a given time. It's serious enough that some Moral Guardians want to destroy the Earth to protect their races from the media.
  • Aito of Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to and his Panty Shots, the latter of which is the sole reason why he became a Sequential Artist. A more specific example exists in the Panty Wars skit, when he, upon reading arguments comparing the two main types of Panty Shots, panchiranote  and panmoronote , he realized by mainly drawing panmoro, he was basically portraying his female characters as sluts.
  • In No Game No Life all games are treated as very serious business, especially by the two protagonists, Sora and Shiro. In the world of Disboard, violence has been outlawed and games are used to decide all conflicts, from social disputes to wars between nations. Entire races can be sold into slavery based on the outcome of a game as simple as rock-paper-scissors.
  • In Happiness Charge Pretty Cure, shopping is serious business for Iona, to the point where she just doesn't get Hime's over-the-top reaction at buying snack foods for a card.

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