When a boke (silly or idiotic character) says something stupid or foolish, one or more crows may be seen flying past, crying "aho! aho!" or "ba-ka, ba-ka". Aho is Japanese onomatopoeia for a crow's call and the kansai-ben equivalent to the all-purpose insult baka (one functional translation of aho is "idiot"); kansai-ben is used by both the Boke and Tsukkomi Routine and The Idiot from Osaka.
Much more common in comedy series than serious dramatic anime, but sometimes found at lighter moments in serious series, too.
- Older Than They Think: The Mazinger Z saga has Bakarasu the crow, who by Great Mazinger times is Boss and his gang's sort-of mascot.
- Hayate the Combat Butler, as seen above but also in such times randomly flying through the mansion in response to Nagi's idea of 'culture.'
- Doctor Slump. In one case, the crow was pummeled by an annoyed Akane Kimidori.
- Pokémon cleverly uses Idiot Murkrow in one episode.
- Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch has a seagull do this in Episode 34, flying in circles at the sky, saying, in the fansub at least, "Moron! Moron!"
- And a couple more times in Pure.
- BECK features an Idiot Parrot. Given the high ratio of cursing in the dub, the same parrot shouts Asshole! Not to say that the original isn't laden with cursing as it is.
- At least three of these appear in one of the Naruto filler episodes. It also appears in some other episodes, but you'll miss it if ya blink.
- In said gag filler, try to catch the crow taking a crap during their second plan to remove Kakashi's mask.
- It carried over in Shippuden: with the Hot Springs Episode of Team 7 and some hilarious post-credits omakes (which included the Wind Release jokes).
- Jiraya also gets one much earlier in the series.
- The crows frequently appear in most episodes of the spinoff series Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth, with the number of crows that appear corresponding to the number of characters that make a fool of themselves in the preceding scene.
- Early in Strawberry 100%, Junpei had just gotten Tsukasa's phone number. While fretting on whether to call her or not, he falls asleep and drools on the paper, blurring out the number. When he wakes up and sees what happened, the scene cuts outside his house... With the Idiot Crows offsetting what would be a normal exterior shot.
- In Air Gear, the main character Itsuki Minami is nicknamed Karasu-kun (Crow-kun) and has a chibi crow as a pet leading to this trope being used many MANY times.
- In one episode of the Galaxy Angel anime, shortly after Milfieulle trips on a mission, a crow flies by, the English dub has it saying, "moron, moron."
- Idol Project used a crow-like alien character once for this purpose.
- Happens a lot to Ryo Saeba in City Hunter. Sometimes the crows are dancing, too.
- The Samurai Champloo manga, probably also to hang a lampshade on the more serious crow symbolism used in the anime.
- Taken to the extreme by Violinist Of Hameln: Oboe, Hamel's mentor and companion, actually IS a crow (transformed by magic), and he explodes into barrages of "You fool!" when frustrated with Hamel.
- A variation occurs in an episode of The Law of Ueki. Upon first seeing the gigantic dog-like form of Tenko, Ueki says he thought he looked like a giant chicken. An Idiot Chicken promptly appears.
- In Rozen Maiden, poor Kanaria ends up having a precious fried egg of hers stolen by a crow, who immediately invokes this. Eventually, the same crow ends up eating a horribly aborted and poisonous at breakfast in almost a mirror of the first incident, until....
- Played with in Pani Poni Dash!: the Idiot Crows in Himeko's mind go "maho". The crows have Idiot Hair too.
- Natsume Yuujinchou. The character in question (Nyanko-sensei), even lampshades it.
- Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple has an idiot rabbit that more or less serves the same purpose.
- In the The Prince of Tennis chibi filler episodes, there is an idiot crow overhead when "Mama" Oishi forgets his wallet at home.
- The anime version of Gintama, episode 10, ends with this trope.
- In SD Gundam Force, when Captain shows off his brand new upgrade; the ability to make facial expressions, a little chick flies by Shute. Because he and the rest of the gang were expecting weapons.
Captain: (makes a u_u face) You don't like them.
Shute: (while chick flies by) No no, they're great... I guess...
Captain: (makes a ^^ face) I'm glad!
- An Anpanman edutainment OVA had a game where one of the characters would show an item in shadow, and to give a hint, say that the item started with the first character of their name. Katsudonman had "karasu" (crow) for his object, and after Baikinman failed to get the answer multiple times, when it was revealed, Katsudonman happily walked away with the crow following, but the crow turned back for a brief moment to caw "aho, aho!" at Baikinman, making him break down in tears.
- The anime of One-Punch Man adds these to a scene where jealous A-rank hero "Snake Fist" Sneck threatens Saitama after his placement test in the Hero Association, in an attempt to bully and haze the newly minted hero. This is after he's learned from the association that Saitama's physical abilities are effectively godlike. Saitama buries Sneck headfirst in the ground and casually walks away into the sunset while crows caw over Sneck.
- Haikyuu!! Hinata and Kageyama run too fast and too far during running exercise with the team in episode 1 of season 2, and wind up in another neighborhood. Cue the idiot crows.
- In episode 10 of Happy Heroes, a crow flies over the gang when Smart S. asks where to plug in Careless S.'s rice cooker while they're out on a camping trip, with no outlets in sight.
- Advice and Trust: In chapter 4 Shinji, Asuka and Rei are talking to a classmate. Rei is describing old battles, accidentally making it to sound like what Shinji is having sex with them, and Asuka is trying to explain what Rei really means as denying that she and Shinji are having sex (they ARE, but they are trying to keep it a secret)... but then their classmate tries to placate her by telling Shinji would obviously never do anything with her, Asuka explodes and nearly blows their cover... and Shinji can hear a crow passing overhead and cawing repeatedly.
Tanaka:"Is... is she talking about-"
Asuka(shouting and blushing):"NO,"
Tanaka:"Um...right. Nothing improper! Perish the thought! Ikari-kun is a perfectly responsible young man! He'd never do anything indecent with you!"
Asuka(bristling):"What do you mean he wouldn't do anything with me?! I'm the most beautiful girl he knows! He'd do anything he could with me, all night long, and beg for more!"
The only sound in their corner of the schoolyard was the gentle click of Rei's chopsticks against the bottom of her bento and the 'caw, caw' of a lone crow passing overhead. Shinji buried his face in his hands.
- An Idiot Crow example happening in live-action television (possibly scripted, but the location is actually close to where the crows congregate) in Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende 2008, "Do Not Laugh Newspaper Agency Special", during the lunch scene.
- In the Rhythm Tengoku series, failing a rhythm game gives you the "Try Again" rating, which is accompanied by a dissonant piano chord followed by crows cawing in the background.
- One of the extra emotions you could buy at MapleStory's Cash Shop shows your character with a Sweat Drop expression, followed by such a crow passing over the user's head, though the "aho-aho" sound is not included.
- Sengoku Basara turns Naoe Kanetsugu into a Small Name, Big Ego Chew Toy (specifically, a Boisterous Weakling: a big mouth with no ability whatsoever to support any of his claims). Wait to the end of his introduction in Sengoku Basara 3 and you'll hear some crows break the silence for this trope. No surprise he's the series' Fearless Fool Joke Character.
- Cress in Tales of Phantasia mishears Claus talking about miasma hurting the spirits as "my asthma", prompting his responce that asthma isn't contagious. Cue crow crying in the distance and Mint's Disapproving Look.
- Touhou takes a more literal interpretation with Utsuho Reiuji (better know as Okuu), an anthropomorphic hell raven who's not very bright (birdbrain puns abound). Unfortunately, her power is over nuclear fusion, which translates to making miniature suns at will.
- In the ocean-themed levels of Yoshi's Story, seagulls can be heard cawing "Ahou!" over and over again.
- After beating Magnai in patch 4.4 of Final Fantasy XIV, he professes his love towards Y'Shtola, only for her to brutally reject him. A bird can be heard chirping in the background once the rejection settles in.
- One scene in Avatar: The Last Airbender, episode "The Beach", uses an idiot dove for a comment made by Azula, of all people. As mentioned in the commentary, the creators stated it was the idea of a Japanese member of the animation staff, who suggested not only that you have to have a bird fly by in such situations, but also the guy should leave the scene as if he's a cardboard cutout. Everyone looked at him as if he was insane. Then they went ahead and did it.
- Downplayed in Milo Murphy's Law episode "Perchance to Sleepwalk": after Cavendish and Dakota escort a bunch of red-beaked crows to a bunch of pistachio plants to get the plants purposefully ruined. When it turns out the corvids are full thanks to the sandwich crumbs the two used lure them there, Cavendish suggest they should destroy the plants themselves, which is presented as epic at first, but sluggish and stilted in truth. The choughs don't caw at this development, but do in fact stare at it in such a deadpan way that it screams "what an idiot".
- Totally Spies!:
- A rare western example of this happens in the pilot episode.
- Another episode used a duck as a substitute.