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Insult Backfire / Anime & Manga

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  • In Crest of the Stars, Admiral Spoor's chief of staff is rather appalled at her attitude during combat and calls her Lady of Chaos - a title which she immediately adopts.
  • Zelgadis from Slayers is always pleased when someone calls him a heartless magic-using swordsman. He's trying to cultivate the image.
  • In Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, the eponymous character snaps at Gargoyle by shouting "You're inhuman!!" (literally, in Japanese, "You're not human"). Of course, since he considers himself superior to humanity by virtue of being a Sufficiently Advanced Alien, he thanks her affably for the compliment. The funny thing is, it eventually turns out that he's a human after all. It's doubly ironic that Nadia herself is the one who is literally not human, though she isn't aware of it.
  • A similar but less affable example occurs in Trigun: right after the Big Fall, Vash yells at his brother Knives that he's inhuman / not human. The latter proceeds to beat him up for daring suggest that he might be similar in any way to such inferior beings.
    • The same character presents a similar reaction when Vash calls him a calamity at the end of the first manga. While he is peeved at the fact that Vash is insulting him, he is proud of being a calamity to humans and proceeds to prove it.
    • A variant happens when Vash yells at Legato "From now on, YOU are the hunted!" and the latter answers with a creepy happy smile.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam, when Sovereign Degwin Zabi compares his son, Prince Gihren to Adolf Hitler, Gihren responds that "I'll show you how a man who follows in Hitler's footsteps can fight." Degwin mutters as Gihren leaves: "Just remember, Gihren: Hitler lost in the end."
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Lockon is told that Setsuna was once part of the terrorist organization that killed his family in a suicide bombing. When he later holds Setsuna at gunpoint for this, Setsuna goes on his "I am Gundam" rant and Lockon backs off.
    Lockon: (lowers his gun) That's so crazy, I don't want to shoot you anymore. You really are an impossible Gundam nut!
    Setsuna: (smiles) Thank you. That's a great compliment.
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  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! dub, episode 161, complete with an explanation on exactly why it backfires:
    Téa: (in response to Weevil's boast of beating the Pharaoh) Please, you don't stand a chance, you little cockroach!
    Weevil: Why, thank you, Téa. The roach is one of the strongest insects alive!
  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! GX dub:
    Reggie: You're a nasty, stuck-up snob! And no one here likes you!
    Chazz: I'm waiting for the insult.
    • Chazz may have reacted this way because it was a big case of the Pot Calling The Kettle Black. Reggie was just as big a snob (if not bigger) as Chazz.
    • Also from that episode (number 54):
      Alexis: (after hearing Crowler's plan) That's the most selfish, egotistical thing I've ever heard.
      Crowler: (flattered) Thank you.
      (Jaden, Syrus, and Alexis Sweatdrop)
    • Heck, the GX dub loves this trope. Episode 102:
      Hassleberry: Who's the man?
      Syrus: Jaden! And who's the evil psycho from outer space?
      Syrus and Hassleberry: Sartorius!
      Sartorius: Thank you.
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  • In Princess Princess, when Mitaka learns that his rival in the presidential elections, the glorious Sakamoto-sama who he's been hearing so much about, is a plain-looking, soft-spoken average Joe with no charisma, he publicly insults Sakamoto and speculates that he's merely riding on his older brother's reputation. While everyone else is outraged, Sakamoto is impressed (and possibly turned on) by his honesty.
    Sakamoto: So for me, whether the person has a bad attitude or not, if they're upfront about how they feel it really puts me at ease. Ever since I came here I've never known what it was like to be attacked like that, so it was actually kind of refreshing. (cue blushing and floral background) It was exciting...
    Shihoudani: That's just wrong...
  • In an episode of Pokémon, a character of the week attempted to insult Misty by claiming that she was as beautiful as a Tentacruel. Tentacruel just so happens to be one of Misty's most desired Pokemon.
  • Inverted in Bleach:
    Renji: (after completely destroying the chamber) So... how was it (my tactic)?
    Ishida: That's something Kurosaki would have done.
    Renji: Don't say that! It's almost an insult.
    Ishida: It was an insult!
    • Also Ishida to Szayel:
      Ishida: You're a monster!
      Szayel: I prefer to be called a genius.
    • Unohana to Aizen, if you see Aizen's reply as a Stealth Pun:
      Unohana: Captain Aizen...No, I shouldn't refer to you as that anymore. The traitorous criminal, Sousuke Aizen.
      Aizen: Domo, Captain Unohana.note 
  • Afro Samurai has this exchange between Sio and Dharman:
    Sio: You're a wicked twisted, shit-faced genius scientist. You'll burn in Hell for your crimes against nature.
    Dharman: You praise me so wonderfully, Lady Sio! I am not worthy of your poetry!
  • Whenever someone calls Lupin III crazy. "I think you're bats." "Well, that's the first thing...that you've been right about." * Cuts the rope holding himself and Diana to her kidnapper's chopper.
  • In episode four of Baccano!, after Ladd Russo randomly kills two of his uncle's men for his own amusement, the uncle calls him a freak that even homicidal maniacs think is nuts. Ladd refers to this as "ham-handed flattery".
  • Durarara!!:
    Girl: You are the worst kind of human being in this world.
    Izaya: And isn't that just splendid?
  • In Code Geass, Lelouch makes it look like he's blackmailing Jeremiah over something called "Orange" (when in reality, he just Geassed Jeremiah). The rest of the purist Britannians assume he's a traitor and begin using the word "Orange" as an insulting nickname for him. But when someone tries using it during the second season, he replies that he takes pride in the name now; he was loyal to Lelouch's mother, which lead to his undergoing a Heel–Face Turn and becoming one of Lelouch's staunchest allies, proudly declaring that orange is "the color of my loyalty!".
  • In Future GPX Cyber Formula, Asuka says to Randoll about his arrogance and him putting down on Cyber Formula and Hayato when she first meets him, but Randoll, unfazed by this, instead falls in love with her because of that.
    Asuka: You might be a genius, but you're the most disgusting person in the world!
    Randoll: She speaks so frankly. I like that.
  • Taken for a alternate ride in Mahou Sensei Negima!.
    Fate: I'm starting to feel that you're more fitting as a leader of evil nowadays.
    Negi: I take that as a compliment.
  • In an episode of Wandering Son a boy calls Nitori and Mako (both of who are closet trans girls) "little girls" as an insult. Instead of invoking a negative reaction, all it did was make Nitori blush and smile.
  • Skip Beat! has Murasame tell Cain Heel (Ren Tsuruga performing under a false persona) that, after Tragic Marker gets released in the movies, nobody will remember the name of 'Cain Heel'. the only thing they'll remember is the name of the role he played — Black Jack, a brutal serial killer. Cain replies that it would be a great honor for him as an actor to be remembered because of a role, that his skills was so amazing that people completely forgot that an actor was behind the character, at all.
    Munakata: I'm not praising you!
  • One Piece uses it scarcely for the most part, but the Straw Hat's shipwright, Franky, who usually dresses in only an aloha shirt and speedo, takes "pervert" as a compliment.
    • In an example that also involves Evil Cannot Comprehend Good, Vinsmoke Judge asks the Straw Hat Pirates why they care so much for someone like Judge's son Sanji, who not only was not born with iron skin like his brothers, but has feelings, cooks for a living and risks himself to protect "the weak." Luffy, who otherwise does not take kindly to people talking badly about his friends, simply lets this insult slide without comment, thinking that Judge had just listed all of Sanji's best qualities.
  • In Sailor Moon, one Monster of the Week uses people's insecurities against them, leading Sailor Mercury to despair and almost making her attack her friends. Sailor Moon, though? Not only does she completely dismiss all the insults the monster hurls at hernote , no, when the monster says that she's weird, she grins happily and takes it as a praise.
    DiC dub:
    Monster: This kid's actually proud to be a flake?!
    Sailor Moon: Yes, I like being unique.
    The original dialogue, roughly translated:
    Giwak: What kind of girl is she?
    Sailor Moon: I'll...take that as a compliment.
  • In Naruto:
    Naruto: Since when did you get that smile?
    Sai: Thanks.
    Naruto: It was not a compliment.
  • Hellsing gives us Alucard, whose reaction to being called a monster is usually something to the effect of, "Yes, I get that a lot."
  • She doesn't take it as a compliment, but in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, after Homura unemotionally explains to Kyoko about magical girls turning into witches, the following exchange occurs:
    Kyoko: And you call yourself human?
    Homura: Of course not. And neither are you.
  • In Shin Koihime†Musou, Keifa says that all Enjutsu is good for is eating honey and singing, like a cricket. Rather than feel insulted by this, Enjutsu goes on to say that everyone should keep talking about how great she is.
  • In episode 10 of the Animated Adaptation of Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions, two Nibutani's former classmates appeared at the School Festival and tried to gloat at her past as "Mori Summer", only for Shinka to remember their eight-grade obsessions.
  • When Rita tries to criticize Ryuunosuke's reclusive behavior in episode 10 of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, he isn't offended by it at all, since he's fully aware of it, and says he trusts computers more than women. Then he gives Rita a scathing review regarding Rita's "fake smiles".
  • Upon first meeting Zeno the Yellow Dragon in Yona of the Dawn, his Cloudcuckoo Lander attitude mixed with him apparently not being as tough as the legends say end in Hak jokingly claiming that he's been the Yellow Dragon all along. Kija proclaims if Hak were a dragon it'd be the Dark Dragon. Hak thinks that actually sounds pretty cool.
  • In High School D×D, when Issei tells his friends that he'll have to cancel his summer plans with them because he's going somewhere with the Occult Research Club, his friends tell him to "go to hell!" Issei remarks to himself that his friends are remarkably spot-on: as he and the Research Club are devils, Hell is exactly where they're spending their summer vacation.
  • In one of the short stories in Sweet Blue Flowers, a teenage girl is derisively called a lesbian by some of her classmates. She then reveals that she is a lesbian, and asks why that would be considered an insult.
  • In My Hero Academia, Izuku's former childhood friend turned bully and rival Katsuki takes to calling Izuku "Deku" (short for "Defenseless Izuku" in the Funimation dub). Ochako, however, believes "Deku" to have a positive connotation (stating in the Japanese version that it sounds similar to the Japanese phrase for "I can do it!", "Dekiruteku!"). Izuku takes this to heart, such that he decides to officially adopt "Deku" as his hero name, to Katsuki's dismay.
  • Played with in Voltron where Allura insults the evil Prince Lotor and Lotor does feel insulted...but for the wrong reasons.
    Allura: You're a monster, just like your father!
    Lotor: That old fool?! Why I'm twice the monster he is!
  • In the Hentai Bible Black, after Kitami forced Minase to anally rape Imari, his Love Interest, Imari calls her a terrible human being, only for Kitami to thank her for the compliment. When Imari calls her the Devil, Kitami seems to be even more delighted.
    Imari: You're the worst human.
    Kitami: I'll take that as a compliment.
    Imari: You're the Devil!
    Kitami: The highest compliment!
  • In Kakegurui, the main character Yumeko Jabami's first opponent Mary Saotome calls her insane for betting $100,000 on a Rock–Paper–Scissors game, only for Jabami to respond that's exactly what makes it interesting.
    Saotome: T... this is insane!
    Jabami: But isn't that what makes it fun! In a capitalist society, money is naturally life. No sane person would entrust their life to luck. And yet, many people go to casinos, because they derive pleasure from this insanity! In other words... gambling is more fun the crazier it gets!
  • The DVD blurb of Aquarion Evol proudly displays the Nihon Review statement calling it a "perversely entertaining [..] sundae of campiness".
  • Used quite famously in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's when Vita calls Nanoha the Devil after the latter continues to get in the way of her protecting Hayate. Nanoha (who has been trying to warn her that her actions would have disastrous consequences) simply responds with "I'm fine with being a devil... I'll just use my hellish tools to get you to listen!"


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