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Anime Accent Absence

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In anime, a foreign character will normally speak Japanese flawlessly, unless the plot depends on a Language Barrier.

In Hollywood movies and generally in the Anglophone world, the rule is that if the Translation Convention is in effect, the actors will affect an accent that will seem to match the audience's expectation of what the character should sound like in English. If they don't, we can usually assume they're talking in their own language or whatever functions as the lingua franca (common language) for the purposes of the plot.

Foreign characters in anime generally don't speak with accents except very rarely emphasizing different syllables and pronouncing vowels in words that are usually dropped, which is no stranger than the usual local dialect conventions.

This boils down to the fact that most voice actors are native Japanese,note  and probably prefer to avoid accents that are too "out there" even in the rare situation where they know a second language well enough. There's also the important fact that the aforementioned Hollywood convention is not shared by all countries. Many cultures, Japan included, tend not to use foreign accents or dialects unless it's actually important for the plot/character, etc.

Bonus points if these foreigners also speak a few lines in their supposed native language with an incredibly thick Japanese accent.

Sometimes foreigners are given a regional accent instead of the formal version; however, this is more a shortcut to show the character's personality.

See also Not Even Bothering with the Accent.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Tina Foster in Ai Yori Aoshi is a strange case, having lived alternately in the United States and Japan as well as traveling the world. Nonetheless, Tina has a Hakata accent but fairly horrible English.
    • Another oddity is from the dub. When Mayu is chewing out Tina in English, she acquires a British accent, to indicate to the viewer that she's using actual English. When she's speaking normally (meaning, in Japanese) the accent is absent. Tina's hastily composed response is characterized by a strengthening of the southern accent used for her "Japanese" speech.

  • Despite Baccano! taking place in Prohibition-era New York and including characters that have French, Italian and Eastern European names among others, all the characters speak fluent Japanese in the anime adaptation. One of the reasons the English dub is considered so universally good is that it provides a variety of accents to the characters, including an impressively broad array of regional accents from New York and other East Coast states.
  • The characters from Bakuten Shoot Beyblade come from all over the world and not a single one of them has trouble communicating with any other. Accents are absent in the original and the English sub, but the other dubs sometimes have them.
    • In the German dub, the majority of Russian characters have a Russian accent in the first season. In the third season, they don't. And Giancarlo gets to talk with a crazy over-the-top Italian accent.
    • In the Dutch dub, Olivier has a mild but still stereotypical French accent.
  • In Beck, Ryusuke and Maho have spent much of their lives in New York City, to the extent that they feel much more comfortable speaking English than Japanese, even amongst themselves. However, their Japanese is fine (spoken Japanese; Maho still has a hard time with the written language), whereas their English dialogue is full of errors, such as "these kid" in the first episode.
    • One episode features a group of American thugs, at least one of whom averts this trope. Only one.
  • The crew of the Black Lagoon and Balalaika's Hotel Moscow all speak perfect Japanese. Out of the world-wide transient population of Roanpur, Shenhua is the only aversion. It's all a Translation Convention, though, as they all speak English, and Shenhua's broken Japanese symbolizes her equally broken English. In the second season when American-born Revy and Russian Balalaika come to Japan, they both need Rock (the only real Japanese speaker in the cast) to translate for them, and speak (in the original) with thickly accented English.
  • Jackie Tristan in Bleach is this trope played straight, while Yukio Hans Verarlberna may be a subversion, as he is implied to be half-Japanese (in fact his last name is only mentioned in the back of one of the manga collections).
  • In Blood+, throughout the show they travel the world...and everyone is shown speaking flawless Japanese. The dub tried to subvert this a bit by actually giving characters the proper accents but still didn't change the fact that now everyone was speaking English...
  • Approximately one-third of the main cast of Bungo Stray Dogs is American, and yet they have no trouble communicating with the Japanese characters and their Japanese is pretty much unaccented. Their English, on the other hand... It's a little jarring to hear Fitzgerald's "old sport" sound like "orudo supouto".

  • Case Closed has its share of Americans, yet their Japanese is just more or less standard Japanese peppered with Gratuitous English.
    • Generally justified by such characters having a case-relevant history with Japan or Japanese people. The most notable case, however, is Jodie-sensei, who is revealed to have been disguising her language skills in order to keep cover as a foreign English teacher.
  • Averted in The Case Files of Yakushiji Ryoko, where Jerk with a Heart of Gold Ojou Ryoko Yakushiji's (literally) French Meidos, while apparently able to understand what other characters are saying in Japanese, do not speak the language themselves. They converse with Ryoko and each other in near flawless French (which is subtitled for the Japanese audience).
  • Every member of every European church speaks flawless Japanese in A Certain Magical Index, even when no Japanese people are present.
    • Kanzaki Kaori is a native Japanese speaker which gives her partner Stiyl Magnus an excuse and their immediate superior has also been learning the language from here. They are the only ones with any excuse.
    • Partially averted when Touma goes to Italy where it starts out with him unable to speak to anyone because of the language barrier present. It is not until a member of the church fluent in both Italian and Japanese comes along that Touma is able to communicate with anyone other than index. The end of the second season even lampshades this with Touma making the declaration that he will learn a second language.
  • Surprisingly, though the country of Japan has been taken over by Britannia in Code Geass, apparently everyone in the country speaks perfect Japanese. All the time. Even when they're Britannian students in a Britannian school. Or Chinese. And even in Lelouch's flashbacks of his life in Britannia, everyone's speaking Japanese.
    • The English dub follows suit, giving all the characters (Britannian, Japanese, or otherwise) plain American accents. The one exception is Lloyd, whom Liam O'Brien plays with a very strange, kinda-but-not-quite-British inflection.
    • The situation is a little more complicated. Code Geass has a seriously altered world history. By the time of the series the British isles themselves are E.U. territory. The Britannian Empire and its monarchy is British in origin but it is based in the new world. The capital of Pendragon is in Arizona. American is quite probably the most appropriate accent for them.
    • Some fans however, just assume that the Britannians actually are speaking English in the Japanese version, but it's translated into Japanese through Translation Convention. Likewise for the Japanese characters in the dubs.

  • Much like Black Lagoon above, the characters in D.Gray-Man all speak perfect Japanese due to Translation Convention. It has been stated by the author that they actually all speak English. The only Japanese character, Yu Kanda, has never been seen speaking Japanese and he probably can't since he wasn't raised in Japan. At some point they all travel to China and only Chinese Lenalee can communicate with the locals.
  • Darker than Black has several British characters employed by MI6. November 11 in particular speaks perfect Japanese, which is fine, but when he says something in heavily Japanese-accented Gratuitous English, it's... jarring. Thankfully, Troy Baker went and fixed that with an excellent Fake Brit accent in the dub.
    • This gets particularly Egregious in an episode featuring a group of foreigners living in Japan. They all speak flawless Japanese, aside from the Israeli otaku, who doesn’t just speak with a foreign accent, it sounds nothing like an Israeli accent.
  • Averted with gusto in the American dub of Demon City Shinjuku - hardly any two characters have the same accent. Some of them make sense, like the prim British accent of the polite Ojou; others, like the Mexican accent used by the scrappy kid, are just plain weird.
  • Death Note:
    • All of the American and European characters appear to speak Japanese natively; sometimes their origins are nodded to with a linguistic quirk like calling people "Mister" instead of using honorifics.
    • Watari, L, Near and Mello of Death Note are all portrayed as speaking perfect, accent-less Japanese, despite the fact that they are also Englishmen from Hampshire. Possibly justified in they are supposed to be elusive Private Detectives, and the lack of an identifiable accent better helps to hide any personal information about them that any opposing faction would desperately care to know. L even lampshades as much when Light asks about his time in England.
  • In Digimon Adventure 02, apparently everybody in the world speaks the same language...except for the Russians.
    • In the original dub, most of the International Chosen Children cannot speak Japanese and the only reason they can communicate with the Japanese kids is due to Gennai's many clones pretty much acting as translation devices. This is highlighted by plenty of Gratuitous English whenever the children can't understand each other. Michael has no excuse, though.
    • Digimon Hurricane Touchdown has Wallace, or Willis as he's known in the dub. The original version has him justify this by saying that a Japanese girlfriend taught him.
      Terriermon: Wallace was always with that Japanese person.
    • Rendered ridiculous however when he's on the phone with HIS MOTHER and still speaking Japanese. Though his accent is surprisingly clear and intelligible to native English speakers (since his voice actress learnt English at an international school), it becomes a little amusing and strange when he refers to himself as "Warrace" at one point when speaking English.
  • Anthony from Doki Doki School Hours speaks perfect Japanese, especially for a foreign exchange student.

  • Exception: South American immigrant Pedro in Excel♡Saga has a thick accent in both the original and the dub.
    • Though he uses occasional English words in the Japanese dub, despite of his apparent Spanish speaking background...
    • This trope is parodied in the manga on occasion; there is a running gag of the ACROSS chicks being stranded outside Japan's regional waters, getting back and with their colorful anime hairdos and foreign-sounding codenames, mistaken for illegal immigrants. Every time the immigration officials remember to commend them for their fine Japanese.
  • Everyone in Eyeshield 21, regardless of background, can speak fluent Japanese. Even average Americans when the Devil Bats go to America. There's a bit of a hint that the characters are speaking other languages; Only Watt and Mr. Don actually speak Japanese, so implicitly the other American players are all actually speaking English. Also, when Chuubou confronts Rodchenko, Rodchenko remarks that he can't understand his words, but his body language is crystal clear.
    • Indeed, the language barrier between English and Japanese is quite prevalent. Although a bunch of the smarter Japanese characters and even Sena (who has just below-average grades and needed Mamori's help for English class) can speak English pretty well, a lot of the time the two are unable to communicate with each other (which can lead to hilarity - see Panther trying to challenge Shin...). This is most apparent in the handful of incidents where the characters write down stuff using the Roman alphabet, like when Monta tries to hitchhike with a sign reading "Sutopu" (which is noted to be incorrect). While the dialogue that the NASA Aliens speak is originally written as Japanese, it is implied that they're really speaking English and it's just being auto-translated for the audience. Even in-universe most of the player just turn to the smartest teammates to translate for them.
    • In said English-translated manga, you can tell when someone is supposed to be speaking English to a Japanese speaker when a typed font is used instead of hand-written lettering.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist (2003):
    • Despite Amestris being the parallel to Britain, everybody speaks in American accents, when there is no connection between Fullmetal Alchemist and the United States. Many people argued that British or German accents should have been used to dub the English version, and that it would have made the anime more realistic.
    • In the English cast commentary for the movie, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa, they explain at least why they decided not to attempt German accents, and it can be assumed that they chose not to go with British or any other sort of accent for similar reasons. In the final episode of the first anime, one German character who appeared in the movie does have the accent, as a matter of fact.
  • In the Full Metal Panic! anime, Kurz (German by birth, raised in Japan), Sousuke (ethnic Japanese raised in Russia and Afghanistan (renamed Helmajistan in anime), Mao (Chinese-American) and Tessa (Italian-American by birth) all apparently speak flawless Japanese. This is partly explained by the fact that both Tessa and Kurz lived in Japan as children, and Sousuke was born and lived the first few years of his life in Japan, details only briefly referred to in the anime series and provided in more detail in the original Light Novels.

  • Cuts both ways in GaoGaiGar. Americans Swan and Stallion white have an strange "amateur" accent, as does the American-made robot Mic Sounders. At the same time, though, the French characters in the Post-Script Season have flawless accents. Come to think of it, so do all the aliens.
  • Genshiken features a main character, Ohno, who lived in Massachusetts for roughly 10 years of her youth before returning to Japan for university, and her two American friends Angela and Sue. Ohno's seiyu proves to be particularly bad at speaking in English, not withstanding the translation inconsistencies. Angela and Sue's VAs are more well-versed in English, but neither of them use an American accent. If anything, Angela sounds more vaguely Eastern European than American. Funnily enough, the best English accent belongs to Kasukabe's seiyu, whose character had been studying at a difficult and prestigious English language school in preparation for her career in the fashion business. It really is amazing how bad the English accents are for these characters, both hilarious and pitiable.
    • It could be argued that this even bleeds over to the subtitling of the spoken English dialogue in the anime. Whereas Japanese subtitles censor out some naughty description of Ogiue's doujinshi, the spoken English dialogue with such gems as "it was so hot when he shot his sperm all over that guy's glasses" keeps it in full force.
    • In Genshiken Second Season, all the VAs of returning characters are replaced, and Angela reappears for one episode, forcing Ohno to speak English once again. This go 'round, though, her English is far better; she actually sounds closer to what you'd think a Japanese person who spent ten years in the States would sound like. Angela at least doesn't sound Eastern European anymore... because now she sounds more like a Japanese VA imitating how she thinks an American would speak based on some old American movies she saw once. Sue has also become a main character by this point, but she too sounds as Japanese as ever.
  • John Brown, the Catholic priest from Australia in Ghost Hunt, speaks Japanese with a Kansai Regional Accent. This is handwaved with the fact that he was taught by an actual Osakan, much like in the Love Hina example above. In John's case, however, the joke lies in the accent completely clashing with his meek and humble personality (although the stereotypical Australian might speak in a twang sort of like a Kansai accent).
    • An exception occurs in a case which involves an American investigator who speaks only very broken Japanese and relies on a translator. Toward the end of the story, he speaks perfect English, accomplished in the anime by hiring an American voice actor.
  • Subverted in Ghost Hunt; the Australian John Brown is laughed at for speaking Kyoto dialect, which the other characters call "weird"; he was under the impression that it was a more polite way of speaking and starts correcting himself when it's pointed out.
  • The first season Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex episode "Angel's Share" is set in London and uses authentic architecture and vehicles, but in the English dub all of the British characters are speaking with American accents! The second season episode "Poker Face" features a multinational military expedition whose British members speak (in the dub) with a mixture of Australian and authentic British accents.
    • In the Japanese dub, everybody, anywhere in the world is speaking plain old Japanese; the budget and convenience go over realism, presumably.
  • Both played straight and averted in Girlfriend Beta: Chloe, a foreigner, speaks Japanese with the clear accent of an English-speaker - for example, she pronounces Rs much harder than Japanese people do. Great! Except Chloe is actually French, meaning that this accent doesn't always make sense. With the Rs, say, a French-accented R would be much softer.
  • In Gravitation, Claude "K" Winchester is Bad Luck's trigger-happy American manager, yet he seems to speak normal Japanese. This may be justified due to the fact that he previously managed Ryuichi Sakuma, the singer from the world famous group Nittle Grasper, for some time. What makes him a weird case is that while his Japanese is normal, his English is noticeably accented, despite the fact that he's supposed to be American.

  • Haruhi Suzumiya actually does this with Kansai-ben; it's set in the author's birth city of Nishinomiya, which is a natural place for that dialect to be spoken, as it sits straight in the heart of the Kansai region, right between Kobe and Osaka; but everyone speaks with a standard Japanese accent, in both the light novels and the anime.
  • The Hellsing dub is very careful to place accents in for color. This doesn't seem to be present in the original.
    • Alucard gets an American accent, oddly. This was actually addressed by Crispin Freeman in an interview. According to him they tried a British accent at first, but it "just wasn't butch enough." He also said he wanted to try a Transylvanian accent, but the director didn't want him to.
      • The second Ultimate OAV episode opens with a flashback to Alucard's defeat and subjugation by the Hellsing family. You can hear Crispin Freeman speaking with a Transylvanian accent then.
    • The English release of the manga, however, goes too far to avoid this trope: All characters who were not born on English soil speak with accents so thick and indecipherable that that they make Mr. Svenson sound like Tony Jay. Since something like 80% of the rather expansive cast qualify as "foreigners" to some extent or another, this makes reading the English releases a rather interesting experience.
    • A completely unintentional funny moment: Father Anderson's Japanese voice actor. The fact that he doesn't speak with an accent can be lost on someone not fluent in the language, but when he first confronts Alucard he tries to speak English with an Irish accent with an inconceivably thick Japanese accent overtop of it. The badassery of the moment devolved into fits of laughter... At least until he got to the AAAAAAMMMEEENNNNN!!!
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers seems to have this, with only China speaking Japanese with a stereotypical accent. However, in a (now sadly deleted) blog entry Word of God confirmed that it's essentially a Translation Convention. It's evidenced in the strips: America and England speak English when they talk to each other, on a world conference America speaks in English to the other countries (so they're probably all speaking English as a lingua franca). There are also strips where more than one languages are involved. When America visits Japan for the first time there's an interpreter present, and later America speaks Japanese with an obvious English accent. In another Korea sings a Chinese song in (presumably) Korean. Word of God also said that probably there's a special language that all of them understand, which is how newborn countries who have no official languages yet communicate.
    • Averted in the dub, in which all the characters are given very stereotypical accents.

  • Itazura Na Kiss. British national Chris speaks near-flawless Japanese. Possibly justified given the amount of time she's spent studying Japanese culture and the time she's spent living there. Her MOTHER, however, speaks Japanese with an obvious English accent.

  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, the language barrier seems to be non-existent: British-descended American Joseph Joestar has absolutely no problem talking to his Italian companion Caesar Zeppeli, and later his Japanese grandson Jotaro Kujo and his classmate Noriaki Kakyoin, Egyptian Mohammad Avdol, or French Jean-Pierre Polnareff. Even Iggy, a stray Boston terrier caught in America, thinks in Japanese.
    • JoJo basically requires this, considering almost every member of the cast comes from a different country. Even British characters talking to each other in London will speak Japanese. Of course, almost every character has at least one catchphrase or line spoken in their native language, most famously Joseph's "OH! NO!" Additionally, in Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable, Joseph is explicitly said to have a decent enough grasp of spoken Japanese to be conversational, but struggles to read kanji; this leads to him asking manga artist Kishibe Rohan if he has considered publishing in English. In Part 5, everyone speaks Japanese, despite being set in Italy, although it can be handwaved as a result of Rohan Kishibe having made Koichi Hirose completely fluent in Italian through Heaven's Door and we're all experiencing Part 5 through Koichi's Japanese point of view.
    • The anime adaptation normally plays this straight, with characters such as American-born Holly Kujo displaying no accent or lack of fluency (although by the time we meet her she's been living in Japan for nearly 20 years), but averted in regards to Part 4's Tonio Trussardi. He's an Italian chef who sets up shop in Morioh and he speaks with a pronounced Italian accent that shows that Japanese is not his first language as well as sprinkling various Italian phrases into his speech.
    • Also generally averted in the dub of Parts 1 and 2, where most of the characters are given the appropriate accent. However, Stroheim has an Austrian accent instead of the German one he's supposed to have (presumably as a Shout-Out to Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is best known for playing a different cyborg). Though of course, the Nazis, especially their leader Adolf Hitler, considered Austrians and Germans to effectively be one people, and thus Anime!Stroheim might just simply be Austrian like his leader. Played straight in the dub of Part 3, however, where Joseph has lost his British accent. This would be somewhat understandable, him having lived in America for 47 years at that point, except Part 3 begins immediately after the Distant Epilogue of Part 2, where he still has the accent.
  • In the first episodes of the anime adaptation of Joker Game we see John Gordon, who despite being a born and raised American speaks English with a thick Japanese accent, as well as poor grammar, and speaks Japanese much more fluently. (His skill in Japanese may be justified as he is a Japanophile as well as an American spy)

  • Played straight in Kiniro Mosaic, where Alice, who's lived in Japan for longer than Karen, is more fluent than her, although Karen's fluency often depends on whether or not it's relevant to the sketch, leading some characters to wonder if Karen's broken Japanese is something she's doing on purpose because it's cute. Whenever the two try to speak English, of course, it tends to have a heavy Japanese accent (though it's much better than Japanese people usually do).
  • Alexandra Garcia in Kuroko's Basketball is a justified case; Japanese was her major in college, and Taiga taught her some while she was mentoring him. This is averted when she speaks English, though, as her VA attempts to affect an American accent.
  • While played straight in the original Japanese audio, this trope is averted in the English dub in Little Busters! where Tiffany Grant gave Kudryavka Noumi a Russian accent to highlight her foreign side and she sounds very cute with the accent at the same time.
  • Patricia Martin from Lucky Star has surprisingly decent Japanese having only been in the country for a few months; though she does have somewhat of an odd accent (Albeit a slight one). She admittedly mentioned that much of her knowledge of Japan came from her otaku fanaticism of anime no less. Despite being an American, the few points she actually speaks her supposed native language, more so in the anime's various image albums and radio plays, is not as fluent.
    • This is inverted in the English dub where her voice has a definite accent compared to the others.
  • The non-native Kaolla Su in Love Hina speaks Japanese with a broad Kansai Regional Accent and uses malaprops. This is lampshaded as her having been taught by Kitsune, an actual Osakan, but the real reason is it just fits her boisterous personality.

  • In Massugu ni Ikou Jack is an English dog who supposedly is only just learning Japanese. Not only does he speak it well (though he has some grammatical issues), when he speaks English he has a Japanese accent so thick you could cut it with a knife, as well as mixing up his grammar (using "me" when a native English speaker would use "I," for example). Jack, however, has a noticeable accent while speaking Japanese.
  • Amusing Lampshade Hanging occurs in Mobile Suit Gundam. When two enemy soldiers pose as civilian pilots to sneak aboard the Cool Ship, one of them is advised to "Let me do the talking. Your Zeon accent's too strong."
  • G Gundam. EVERY single Gundam fighter is from a different country, as are their various entourages. NO ONE has a corresponding accent.
  • Gundam 00 features characters both important and insignificant from all over the world - Japan, the middle east, America, Ireland, Russia, just to name a few. All of them have Japanese/American accents in both versions, although it's understandable given the sheer amount of different nationalities involved.
  • In the English dub of Monster, Translation Convention means that the German speaking characters are rendered with American accents, though a British couple in one episode are given authentic accents.
  • All the non-Japanese characters in My-HiME. Particularly obvious when the Phenotype Stereotype-afflicted but otherwise nondescript foot soldiers of the American Ancient Conspiracy invade the school grounds and have no trouble being understood by anyone.

  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Negi is supposed to be WELSH!! His speaking of perfect Japanese is actually explained away as him being very good at languages. Unfortunately, he's also described as an "English gentleman" which most Welsh would take offense to. But the worst thing comes in the anime, when he's reading a poem in English to his class with the worst pronunciation ever. It sounds like a Japanese person who's been given a general idea of what English letters sound like and had a paper placed in his hand. (Which is probably what happened).
    • It's even more obvious because the seiyuu voicing Nodoka actually does a fairly good job with pronunciation when she was speaking English.
  • Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion is raised in Germany, but apart from a few odd phrases now and then, speaks almost entirely in flawless Japanese. A notable example is the startup sequence in her Eva. She goes through it in extremely stilted and flawed German, fails, blames Shinji's brain for throwing her off, then switches to the Japanese interface. Her German on the other hand has a very broken Japanese accent.
    • Her fluency in spoken Japanese can also be attributed to the fact that she's a part Japanese (Asuka Langley Soryuu) genius who spent most of her life training to work for NERV, a Japanese organization that will require her to live there in order to fight Angels.
    • The Mexican dub makes a point of replacing Asuka's perfect Japanese with Spanish-German Poirot Speak.
    • While she still speaks with nary an accent in the English dub, the moments when she slips into German come off sounding much more natural, due to the VA actually knowing German herself.
    • And yet despite her perfect ability to speak Japanese, the reason she's having trouble in school is that she can't read it. This is typical of a (part-) Japanese child who grew up overseas, and anyone who's ever tried to learn kanji can sympathize with her plight.
    • In the German dub, she speaks fluently German like the rest of the cast. During the infamous phone call scene, she speaks German with a rather weird dialect. Considering she comes from Wilhelmshaven, the dialect doesn't make that much sense.
    • Mari who is part-British, doesn't have an accent either. Then again, since little is known about her backstory and she is more comfortable thinking in Japanese (which is why she had the EVA's interface set to Japanese in her first battle), she might've spent more time in Japan or something like that. However, she does get to speak English briefly in one scene, and depending on how much you're willing to suspend disbelief, you could kinda convince your brain that it sorta sounds like a British accent.
  • Noir is an interesting case, in that the main characters are international assassins, and therefore are trained to speak any language they need to fluently so as not to give away their nationality. However, this doesn't change the fact that the main characters are supposed to be speaking French most of the time.
    • Many fans have speculated that Mireille might be speaking Japanese for Kirika's convenience, and as an added bonus keep outsiders from understanding their conversations. Doesn't change the fact that everybody else is speaking Japanese as well, of course.
    • Mireille expressly states in one episode that Kirika is fluent in several languages. Presumably Mireille is too, so we can assume that this (entirely non-specified) list of languages includes whichever ones they need for their travels.
    • ADV Films, who distributed the series in English, has stated on its website that it believes that Mireille and Kirika do speak English most of the time, the "language of business."

  • Eclair, the French girl introduced at the end of Ouran High School Host Club, who has no trouble conversing with anyone despite there being nothing to indicate that she has lived in the country or by some other means has learned to speak Japanese like a native.

  • Planetes is a strange one. In the Japanese original, everyone speaks in unaccented Japanese with honorifics, though most of the time it is assumed that the Translation Convention is in effect and the characters are actually speaking English. In the English dub, everybody has an American accent except for the Russian Yuri, who for some reason sounds British.
    • Subverted during the visit to Hachimaki's home, when his mom angrily berates her sons for various infractions — without realizing that Yuri speaks perfect Japanese due to his (deceased) Japanese wife. Another subversion comes from the manga only, in the scene where Leonov's mother comes to thank Hachimaki for saving her son. Both end with dumb looks on their faces, as the woman doesn't speak neither English, nor Japanese, and Hachimaki's Russian is also nonexistent.
  • In Pokémon: The Series, Raymond, who's not implied to be a foreigner in any other way that his voice, speaks in a really thick American accent (and even has an American voice actor), while the actually canon American character Matisse (Lt. Surge) settles for really (REALLY) Gratuitous English.
  • All characters in Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva have normal Japanese accents, despite the fact that the script relies on over-the-top English stereotypes to generate humour.

  • Shampoo from Ranma ˝ (who is Chinese) sometimes falls into realistic inflections given that she learned everything in about two months. The trouble occurs when adapting this, resulting in Shampoo's slightly broken English in the dub making fans think she is less intelligent (or at least intelligible) than she really is. Mousse, from the same Chinese village, speaks a Japanese regional accent (Touhoku) sometimes associated with country hicks. In the dub he inexplicably speaks perfect, accentless English, which would imply perfect Japanese by Translation Convention.
  • Aversion in the English-language dub of Read or Die, where the English secondary characters are given fairly convincing English accents, but the two female leads (One Japanese-British and one Dutch) speak with American accents. Needless to say, everyone speaks idiomatically correct Japanese in the original.
  • Nearly everyone from Italy in Reborn! (2004) speaks Japanese flawlessly (the Varia are forgiven, being required to learn at least 7 languages), but then there's Gokudera and Shamal and the Arcobaleno.
    • Gokudera knowing Japanese makes complete sense considering his mother is Japanese.

  • In Sailor Moon, there's a rich British gentleman who invites the Sailor Senshi to a party, but he speaks perfect Japanese. In The '90s English dub, the gentleman's nationality is changed to French. However, in such dubs as the Brazilian one, while the university's boys speak without an accent, the gentleman speaks with an over-the-top British accent.
  • Almost every single character in Saint Seiya has a different ethnic background, but everyone speaks Japanese, even the Greek Gods!
  • Averted with Abner Doubleday in Samurai Champloo. In the original and the dub, he's voiced by Doug Stone, and thus his Japanese is heavily accented.
    • Also Isaac, the Dutchman in Episode 6. Apparently all the bit Dutch characters are voice-acted by actual Dutch voice-actors as well, just speaking their lines in their own native language.
  • Eri and Sarah of School Rumble, who are both from Britain. Eri may be an aversion, since she occasionally mixes up Japanese homonyms.
  • In Shaman King, the entire cast outside of a rather minimal amount of characters are not Japanese, even more so when they move for the majority of the series to America. Despite characters being from a great deal of countries, and despite covering a great deal of specific dialects within that, there is little effort made to distinguish them with voice. Foreign characters speak in fluent, if not at times refined, Japanese except for random sprinklings of their native languages (consisting of perhaps a word or two, maybe a sentence; though this is mostly used for minor characters, and is dropped when the character becomes more important plot-wise). This wouldn't have been such a point of contention were it not for the fact that the vast majority of said international cast had only about a week to realize that they needed to learn Japanese at all; and even then would only have had to use it for a period of maybe 2 weeks.
  • Sketchbook ~full color'S:
    • Kate averts this. Her Japanese is heavily accented, and her English is good. Still, her English pronunciation has a definitive Japanese slant, so the poor girl can't speak anything without any accent anymore. Though, it should be noted that she has the wrong accent; Kate is Canadian, but her accent sounds more like she's from the American South.
    • The series also takes place in the Fukuoka prefecture, where Hakata-ben is spoken. But aside from Natsumi everybody speaks with a Tokyo accent.
  • Elise from Sky Girls is born and raised in Germany, but has no trouble with Japanese at all.
  • In Soul Eater and Soul Eater Not! it's established that Death City is located in the United States, and it's implied that many the students of the DWMA are multi-national, so this trope is in affect for the original Japanese version. There also doesn't appear to be any language barrier whenever characters are travelling the world.
  • Everyone in the English dub of Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie has an American accent regardless of nationality. This is understandable comes to American characters like Ken and Guile, and even the Japanese Ryu and E. Honda, but eyebrow-raising when it comes to Vega, who is Spanish, and outright baffling in the case of Cammy, who is from England.
  • A strange example is Ana from Strawberry Marshmallow, a young British immigrant who is linguistically and socially more Japanese. Here the trope is justified, as she's more or less forgotten any English, and has to learn it from the show's (Japanese) glasses girl. Naturally, Ana speaks in a slower, formal tone, which coincidentally fits her being the gang's equivalent to The Ojou.
  • In Strike Witches, there is absolutely no language barrier between the members of the multinational strike team. Written material is in English, yet at one point characters bicker over use of Japanese honorifics. Even if we assume that they are actually speaking English or their world's equivalent, it is odd that 14-year old rural schoolgirl Yoshika is fully fluent from day one. One possible handwave is that their magical powers automatically translate for them.

  • Ms. Thompson from Upotte!! speaks with an American accent in Japanese. It makes sense, seeing as how she literally IS a Thompson.
  • Emelenzia from Venus to Mamoru!, likewise, though she is a bit of a Malaproper.
  • Averted in The Wind Rises; every German character there speaks with a realistic German accent and linguistic quirks of non-native speakers.
  • A particularly obvious aversion occurs in Witch Hunter Robin. The titular hunter was raised in Italy and is transferred to Japan. Her Japanese is so bad it often gets laughed at by her fellow hunters.
  • More Humongous Mecha accent weirdness: In Xabungle, Jiron's voice sounds like it's supposed to be something other than standard Japanese, though it's hard to say what. In the Fan Translation of Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden, most of the Xabungle characters' dialogue is rendered into English as a sort of generic Southwestern American dialect to fit the series' Wild West theme. The strange thing is that, at least according to SRW, Xabungle takes place in former Eurasia and Africa, while the two After the End Gundam shows (Gundam X and ∀ Gundam) take place in North America with X in the northern US and Canada (despite being the one with a secondary character named Tex) and Turn A south of the Mason-Dixon.
  • Averted in Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl with Jody Rockwell, a Canadian. Although her English isn't that great, her Japanese is highly accented, and Yawara frequently has to correct her usage. Several other world-class Judo athletes require interpreters to talk to the Japanese athletes, but a few seem to have learned a bit of the language specifically to be able to trash-talk to and/or challenge Yawara.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, all the Egyptian characters speak flawless Japanese for no adequately explained reason. In the English dub, Bakura keeps his British accent in Ancient Egypt. However, in the Arabic dub, Malik Ishtar speaks with an Egyptian accent.
    • Averted with Pegasus, who's American. His Japanese anime voice can be heard overdoing the desu's a bit, as heard here, making him sound slightly less fluent. He also uses Gratuitous English ("JESUS!!") in a way that highlights that he's American. And rather than use Japanese Honorifics, he typically uses "-boy" rather than "-kun". Notably, when Anzu reads his diary and the anime switches to Pegasus's voice, his monologues are in perfect Japanese.
  • Kiyomaro Takamine and Gash Bell, the main characters of Zatch Bell!, travel to many different countries battling different demons. However, no matter where they go, everyone can speak perfect Japanese - most notably in England, where nobody seemed to even hint that they knew English at all.
    • This is Lampshaded during the first dialogue exchanged between Kiyomaro and Parco Fulgore, where the space between the comic boxes says "Note: No language barrier."

    Asian Animation 
  • In Pleasant Goat Fun Class: Travel Around the World, the goats go on a World Tour and meet people from different countries. All of the people they meet can speak fluent Chinese with no foreign accent.

  • An example that particularly sticks out is shown in The Dagger of Kamui, in which the main character, a nineteenth-century Japanese native named Jiro, travels to the U.S. and seems to have no problem speaking with anyone, up to and including Native Americans and Mark Twain.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Super Sentai has had a few examples over the years:
    • Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger has Kyoryu Pink, Amy, who, despite spending most of her life growing up in America, has dreadful English pronunciation, and no trace of any sort of American accent. Kyoryu Cyan, Ramirez, has a similar problem, being from "Europe", except that unlike Amy, he's played by a Canadian. According to the actor himself, he was told to tone down his Canadian accent to be easier to understand for the audience. Which is fine, except he also mispronounces many English words because of this.
    • Shuriken Sentai Ninninger has Kinji Takigawa, who's supposed to be an American cowboy. Clearly the best way to show this was to give him an oddly Japanese name, and cast a Japanese actor who can't speak English, and makes no attempt at all to change his accent.

    Video Games 
  • In Black & White, every character in the game, regardless of their assumed tribe (ranging from Norse to Aztec to Japanese) speaks in one of several delightfully varied accents from the British isles.
  • Freelancer is an interesting reversal of this trope, where Junko speaks perfect English despite being Japanese Kusarian.
  • In Inazuma Eleven, all the foreign characters, (with the exception of Dylan of Pegasus, the team representing the United States, who peppers his sentences with Gratuitous English) speak perfect Japanese for no explained reason whatsoever. While justified for the Japanese Hide Nakata, all the others have no excuse. Fubuki (from Hokaido), speaks regular Japanese as well - though curiously that doesn't apply to his teammates, and Kogure(from Kyoto) and Tsunami (Okinawa) also noticeably lack accents. Rika (Osaka), however, averts it wholesale, using a thick to the point of stereotypical Kansai accent.
  • Justified in The King of Fighters by Robert Garcia (an Italian) speaking Japanese as they went with the Kansai Regional Accent for him in order to give his Japanese an accented flair (as the developers explained that, should he be speaking English, his speech would have an Italian accent).
  • In the Japanese version of Metal Gear Solid, nearly every character spoke with the same accent. With the English dub, Mei-Ling was given a pseudo-Chinese accent, Liquid spoke with a British one, Dr. Naomi had an Ivy League one and Nastasha had a Russian one. When the dialogue was redubbed for the GameCube's Twin Snakes version, almost all of the characters spoke with straight American accents.
    The use of accents was significantly cut back in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and completely (and jarringly) eliminated in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, which is set in a number of worldwide locations where absolutely everyone speaks completely unaccented Japanese/American English. When playing through such Ripped from the Headlines locales as "the Middle East" and "South America", this starts to feel especially weird.
  • The Japanese dub of Overwatch removes the unique accents and language-specific callouts based on the nation of origin of respective heroes.
  • In Power Stone, a series of fighting games for Dreamcast (and later PSP), the characters are from different countries and nationalities, but they speak Japanese.
  • In the Richman series, while many characters come from all over the world, they speaks fluent Chinese all the time. This is averted by those who speaks Japanese, those who speak English, those who speaks Chinese with a wierd accent, and a baby who can only babbles except 6's base game, where she can suddeny speaks.
  • In the Sakura Wars franchise, squadmates are made up of multi-ethnic soldiers who can communicate with each other in spite of different members haling from Japan, America, Russia, France, China, and Vietnam. That said, half-Italian Orihime Soletta does speak with a noticeably thick Italian accent.
  • This is especially odd in Shadow Hearts: Covenant. Since the game takes place during WW1 the other characters decide that they should refrain from using Karin's obviously German name (Koenig)...but don't even bother to explain why she both understands English in the first place (and Russian, and Japanese, and French...) and speaks it without even the hint of an accent.
    • Let's not even get started on Joachim's or Hilda's (of From The New World) lack of a Hungarian accent, despite being from a castle just outside Bistritz, a village in the formerly Hungarian Transylvania. Even better, let's not start on the fact that Keith (From the original) did have a painfully awkward one in his one spoken segment the translators bothered to dub.
  • Shenmue II takes place in Hong Kong and China, but the main character Ryo Hazuki from Japan has no trouble speaking to anyone.
  • Yoh from Starry☆Sky ~in Spring~ displays an amazingly extensive Japanese vocabulary, despite having spent most of his childhood and teens in France.
  • In the Street Fighter franchise, Americans Cody, Charlie and Guile, British Cammy, Jamaican Dee Jay and unknown-nationality M. Bison speak with Japanese accents. In Street Fighter IV, everybody has an American accent save for Zangief, El Fuerte, Cammy and Rose in the English dub. SFIV comes with the option to hear many English speaking characters either speaking English or English with a heavy Japanese accent!
  • In the American version of Trauma Team, Naomi Kimishima and Tomoe Tachibana both speak perfect English without accents, despite both characters hailing from Japan.
  • Persona:
    • Persona 3: Averted with French foreign exchange student Bebe. In the Japanese version, his speech is excessively formal and antiquated, suggesting he learned Japanese by watching samurai movies. In the English localization, he speaks in Gratuitous Japanesenote  and a French Funetik Aksent to emphasize that Japanese isn't his first language.
    • Persona 4: Averted with a girl in Okina City that the protagonist talks to during Operation Babe Hunt, who speaks Englishnote .
    • Persona 5:
      • Ann Takamaki is said to be fluent in English due to being part-American and spending some time living overseas. However, when she actually speaks English in the Japanese dub she's...a little less than fluent.
      • Zig-Zagged with the school trip to Hawaii. The introductory cutscene has Ryuji fail to understand a customs officer due to the language barriernote . Played straight for the rest of the trip though, with the language barrier never becoming an issue again.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • Ronin Galaxy: Despite being on the Moon in the future, the places the characters visit are clearly reminiscent of Japan and so are the people. Though there isn’t any language barrier between anyone; specifically with Giancarlo, Taylor and Leona, who are foreigners.