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Medium Awareness / Anime & Manga

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  • Fushigi Yuugi is about a girl and her best friend reading a book who get teleported into the world of the book.
  • In the Naruto spin-off Rock Lee and His Ninja Pals, the characters constantly interact with the narrator and he appears to be a non-canon character made specifically for the show. In one episode the plot revolves around the narrator being ill and finding a suitable interim replacement (Rock Lee, with poor results)
  • Pokémon:
    • One of Team Rocket's elaborate plans to capture Pokémon is foiled early, so they instead wrap the target Pokémon with some whips and begin easily tugging them away from their owners. Cut to this brilliant piece of dialog:
    James: Why didn't we just do this in the first place?
    Jessie: We have to fill a half hour!
    • Another episode ends with them remarking "We wasted this whole episode cheering for the good guys."
    • One episode has a tie-in to the video games. Meowth says he can't learn Pay Day because he used up all his move slots. It's later established that the only attack Meowth can use is Scratch or Fury Swipes, because he used the rest of his move slots to speak human language.
    • Team Rocket pretty much does this Once per Episode early in the series.
  • In Tsurupika Hagemaru-kun, Hagemaru suffers from this and Genre Savviness.note 
    Hagemaru: Hey, Kaka, don't sneeze like this while you're naked or the censor guys will cut the scene!

    Hagemaru: I can do anything, I'm the hero of this series!
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  • The Gestalt OVA depends on this trope for half of the episode in which Ohri is under a spell of silence. She communicates using video game style text boxes. Her master Olivier even asks "what is that thing?".
  • Hayate the Combat Butler has the characters being aware of commercial breaks, the Narrator, and so forth. At one point Tama is able to figure out 8's identity by remembering the show's Title Sequence. Medium Awareness is constant in the manga, as well.
  • In the first season of Slayers, Lina grows so angry with Gourry that she grabs a hold of her own Sweat Drop and hits him over the head with it.
  • One Piece:
    • The commentator during the Davy Back games announce that the main event will commence after these commercial messages.
    • The Strawhat crew yell at Crocus to stop doing his "good running gag".
  • The manga of Dragon Half does this. For example, one character is explicitly describing objects with their colors, only for another to point out that the previous page was the last one to be in color.
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  • In the rather naughty Kekko Kamen anime, the bad guys are caught by surprise because there is no heroic music for one of her arrivals. Granted, in the original manga her appearances are also preceded by a soundtrack, so the music seems to be on their side of the fourth wall.
  • Strawberry Marshmallow:
    • In one manga chapter, Miu counters Matsuri's assertion that her pet ferret, John, is a good boy by reminding her that she said he was wiggling around "three panels ago".
    • On the first page of Chapter 3, before even the chapter's title page:
      Chika: Miu... and Matsuri... don't get along.
      [Nobue looks at Chika as if to say, "Um... who are you talking to?"]
      Nobue: And nobody cares.
      [The words "The End" appear]
      Chika: No! Not "THE END!"
  • This happens constantly in several of Ai Yazawa's works, such as Gokinjo Monogatari and Paradise Kiss (manga-version only). Characters complain about lack of lines or comment on other characters' thought bubbles. She has also used it in Kagen no Tsuki and Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai, albeit in a less over-the-top way.
    George: Oooh, Isabella! Your first full-color shot was really impressive! It's a pity it will be b&w in the tankobon edition...
  • Excel Saga does this.
    Paramedic: [looks over his shoulder at a montage playing in the background] Oh my, her life's flashing by. That's no good.
    • A lot.
      Pedro: Yes. Please take a look at the flashback. [background turns into a flashback scene, a construction worker falling off by its sudden appearance]
  • Bleach:
    • Coming off an anime filler arc, the writers used half of the first non-filler episode for Inoue to explain to Ichigo where they'd left off in the main story, using slides with pages of the actual manga to bring him back up to speed.
    • During Uryuu's fight against Szayel-Aporro, the batty Pesche reaches into his loincloth for something to help and Uryuu informs the audience it's a little too risque to air. Later, Mayuri decides to fix Nemu up and Uryuu says that was DEFINITELY too kinky for television.
    • Also in anime-only filler episode (ep. 214), Karukura-Raizer Erotic "in Hyper Erotic Mode, gains several techniques that can't be shown on TV."
  • In the first episode of Ouran High School Host Club, Tamaki can be seen leaning on a notice which pops up on the screen explaining the real meaning of Kyoya's words.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • In the manga, Goku's first fight with Yamcha had him getting kicked into - and bouncing off of - the panels of the page by Goku.
    • Gags like this were also used in Akira Toriyama's earlier series Dr. Slump.
    • In an episode of Dragonball Super crossing over with Doctor Slump, Vegeta goes up against Arale and quickly realizes he's up against "a gag manga character" who is as strong as she needs to be, and standard fighting tactics are just going to be ineffective against her. He tries using some gags himself ("Look! A UFO!") but it doesn't work, and he gets launched over the horizon. Afterward, he declares he's never fighting a gag character again.
  • Used many times in Mahou Sensei Negima!.
    • Misora tries to wave away a caption that introduces her as Misora to the readers after she just denied that she was Misora to Asuna.
    • Konoka pulls out the Relax-o-Vision picture from somewhere in an attempt to censor a scene of Jack Rakan licking their enemies' panties. "There are children reading this!"
    • When characters have Imagine Spots, they're displayed in the background; the people around them sometimes turn to watch and comment.
    • Jack Rakan once watches another character's flashback.
  • In the Tenchi Muyo manga, someone comments that Mihoshi resembles some other characters, to which Mihoshi replies that she's shaded with a different screentone than they are.
    • Washuu turns off the narrator while pushing a button. She also makes a pun with the title. Tenchi Muyo essentially means 'right side up', like seen on boxes. She says that despite the title, things can flip around.
    • One chapter starts with an intense fight between Aeka and Ryoko. The page that follows the title page has Washuu with a Ryohoki robot bonking the two and commenting that she's 'too late to appear in the first pages'.
    • Aeka tells Kiyone that she won't appear anymore if she doesn't cooperate, to which she answers that she'd like to keep her limited role as much as possible.
    • Sasami and Tenchi's grandfather also have a moment that when a hard question is asked, they are looking for 'the expert' to appear and explain it. Sasami looks under a rock saying "Where are you?"
    • There's frequent mentions of 'Tenchi being the main character', sometimes himself lamenting his current role (where he's cleaning by lack of having anything to do in that chapter).
    • Mentions of the anime are semi-frequent. One example is in the Jurai tree arc, where Washuu starts talking about her rival Yume. Mihoshi mentions the Doctor seen in the anime, as if it didn't make sense anymore. Washuu answers to 'forget about him' instead of trying to conciliate the two storylines.
    • Azaka and Kamidake also have a bit where they appeared some 6 volumes later. Washuu has a 'long time no see' moment, and they precisely say the volume and page of their last appearance (and even longer time since they had spoken lines).
  • The Princess Princess characters regularly comment on backgrounds and other elements. Late in the manga, they even complain when Ensemble Dark Horse Arisada receives a very large close-up.
  • In Haruhi Suzumiya, Kyon's narration is sometimes overheard by the characters, leading to the idea that Kyon just mumbles narration to himself everywhere he goes.
  • In the Fullmetal Alchemist manga, Edward lets Winry know how something happened by flashbacking to it and pointing towards that panel.
    • In one instance, when someone mentions his actual height, he covers up the number in that person's speech bubble.
  • Bakemonogatari does this quite straight. Senjougahara compliments her own seiyuu.
    • The line also appears in the original light novel, making this further confusing.
  • Every time a character in Ranma ½ is aware of someone else's daydream, they look up at the panel containing said daydream. And comment on it.
  • Honey Honey No Suteki Na Bouken was already entirely silly, with copious lampshade hangings. More than once characters address the commercial break or writers, depending on the dub.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt makes copious use of Written Sound Effects, and at one point, an annoyed Stocking grabs a bunch of the sound effects, wads them up in a ball, and shoves them into Chuck's mouth.
  • When the GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class students are talking about typography, one strip actually has the characters discuss the sound effect typeface on that strip.
  • In Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, the characters show a certain amount of medium awareness when not directly parodying anything, such as one note in the English version of the anime where Bobobo has to have a pause between words while talking about traveling in order to accommodate for the translation, and he says after "I hope I can talk normally when we get there", actively acknowledging that the dub had just had to mess up. They also show that they are aware that a narrator is explaining things and will sometimes even talk directly to him. The end of the anime also has all characters bemoaning the fact that it's finally the end, and one even notes that it cuts off in the middle of an arc.
  • In Mon Colle Knights, Rokuna at one point dumps the visualized letters of her scream at an attacking group of enemies, Beginner once pushed aside a scene with a resistant Count Collection on it and from time to time the characters will interact with the narrator. At the end of the show, Count Collection talks directly to the audience about his Status Quo.
  • In Saiyuki the characters occasionally comment during some of the comic relief on things like Sanzo's fan coming out of nowhere, the fact that they can't prove to the reader that Kanzeon is really a hermaphrodite as the rating isn't that high and Gojyo wonders why Hakkai has launched into the recap of what the sutras are and their significance is while they are surrounded by murderous yokai.
  • The characters of Seitokai no Ichizon begin the first episode arguing how being an anime will affect their story which is being adapted from a series of Light Novels.
  • In episode 4 of Dai Mahou Touge, after Punie's mascot Paya-tan is squished and Punie defeats the badguy, Anego tells Paya-tan "Your status on this show is getting closer and closer to mine." That's not a good thing around Punie.
  • The stinger of the first episode of Kotoura-san has Haruka do a Dirty Mind-Reading... on the "tons of people on the other side of the TV." This show is aired during Otaku O'Clock, so viewer sexualization of Haruka is clearly unavoidable. Manabe is jealous.
  • Haiyore! Nyarko-san has several characters exhibit Medium Awareness as dictated by Rule of Funny; for example, the first episode of the second season practically has Nyarko recap the entire premise of the series and introduce the entire cast...while Mahiro wonders what the hell she's doing. Before that, the episode starts with a parody of the opening to Bewitched, with Nyarko as Samantha and Mahiro as Darrin; we later see it's just a video she's having made. Interestingly, the opening includes credits for their actual voice actresses (Kana Asumi and Eri Kitamura respectively), a fact that not even Mahiro seems to notice.
    • In that same episode, Nyarko and the other aliens use Kamen Rider Wizard's Transformation Sequence to change from their pajamas to their school uniforms; afterwards, Cuko comments that the "magic circle effect" is pretty expensive so they decided to use it early on while there's still plenty of money in the show's budget.
    • Mahiro himself exhibits it in an earlier episode, where he can apparently see the little numbering bubbles used to count up the guests for his mother's hot springs trip (since he remarks on the fact that Nyarko's pet Shanta-kun is counted as a guest despite being, well, a pet).
    • In the very first episode, Nyarko is rambling endlessly until a frustrated Mahiro grabs a nearby fork and plunges it into the table next to her hand. After the title card, a frightened Nyarko asks "What are you trying to do, get us cancelled?!"
  • In the manga of K-On!, Mio seems to have this in a couple of instances:
    • When she and Azusa are beside each other in the bath, Yamanake remarks that she can't tell them apart without her glasses (even though Azusa has acquired a significant tan and Mio has not). Mio wonders if it's a criticism of the manga artist.
    • In college, something happens to Yui at some point, making her punctual, not snackish, focused, and uncomfortable with being clung to. Ritsu feels for lumps, thinking maybe she hit her head, since that's what would happen if it were a manga. Mio says is is a manga.
  • In the Lupin III franchise, there exists a Semipermeable Fourth Wall nature. It is usually Lupin interacting with whatever element of the work is on our side of the Fourth Wall, but any of the cast can do it for a Rule of Funny. (Monkey Punch has even turned part of a panel over to show how upset he was when Zenigata had a Leaning on the Fourth Wall line, claiming the current case was as simple as a comic book)
    • A Lupin III (Green Jacket) episode has Lupin stepping off of a plane and calling, "Title!" to summon the episode's name.
    • The manga stories use many more Fourth Wall jokes than the anime stories do. In "Impression Impossible", Lupin has paid someone to roll a panel aside and declare that Lupin III is handsome.
  • Characters in Sonic X frequently make reference to being in an anime (though only in the original Japanese version) - usually Sonic, but Dr. Eggman occasionally does it too. In one memorable episode, Eggman actually took over the show, changing the name of it to "Eggman X" (complete with new title card). Sonic eventually defeated Eggman by sending him down a maze where the right path was marked by the correct answer to a Yes/No question. The last question was "Who's the main character of this show?" with one path marked with a picture of Sonic and the other with a picture of Eggman. Eggman, naturally, went down the "Eggman" path (even though his robots actually admitted the right answer was Sonic), which naturally led to a trap. (The 4Kids Entertainment dub changed the last question to "Who's the coolest guy around?".) In another episode, Team Chaotix learned what had happened while they were away by watching Sonic X on DVD, even arguing about whether to skip the opening song or not.
  • The cast of Sgt. Frog displays this a number of times: in chapter 69, the threat of a lecture from Keroro leads to the following exchange:
    Fuyuki: We've just been made into an anime, and we're already going to lose fans.
    Keroro: Shut up! I shall only lecture you for about two of your Pokopenian pages!
  • Nui's introduction in Kill la Kill has her leaning against her introductory subtitle, and then stroking Satsuki's hair (who's very far away from her) through a split-screen divider.
  • Practically everyone has demonstrated some degree of this in Gintama. Among other things, they know they're in an anime/manga, and are able to notice the censorship of their dialogue and the scenery at times.
    • One story arc has the Yorozuya gang trying resolve a time stop that's affected everyone but them. The only reason they're even able to make any progress is due to the fact that they're able to read the speech bubbles of the frozen characters, though Gintoki later tries abuse this by editing what some of them are saying using a marker. They can even see the sound effects, and Gintoki ends up saving Otae's life by editing the sound of her being hit with a rocket punch into a stick figure saving her from the rocket punch...which she ends up marrying.
  • One Franken Fran chapter has a doctor refuse Fran's services, because he is all too aware of the Body Horror she inflicts on her patients in the name of saving their lives. How does he know all this? He holds up Franken Fran Volume 1.
  • Detective Conan generally leaves the Fourth Wall alone, but occasionally Mouri Kogoro will demonstrate knowledge that he couldn't have in-story, such as mentioning the occupation of someone he's just met when they haven't told him. Normally, one would assume this was the result of a Sherlock Scan, but seeing as he's a Clueless Detective, that seems unlikely. The only OTHER possible explanation, however, is that he can read the Character Subtitles that anyone involved in a murder mystery will always be introduced with...
    • For a blatant example of this, check Episode 221: The Mysterious Retro Room Case, right near the beginning when the 3 women are introduced... and promptly are referred to by their jobs by Mouri, who's only just met them..
  • In The Circumstances Leading to Waltraute's Marriage, several characters do this. Some of Waltraute's sisters complain that it's not fair they have less screen time than her. Freyja at one point boasts that she's so sexy she has to be censored.
  • Chapter 8 of The Familiar of Zero has several girls look up at the Imagine Spot depicting Saito's sexy dream of Louise, and in the next panel Louise is waving her arms through it to dissipate it.
  • In Chapter 162 of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, Apachai grabs and peeks out from behind a speech bubble like someone peering around a doorframe, acting confused about its presence.
  • In one chapter of Cyborg 009, 009 and 007 are chasing several shady men. As they set off, 007 (who, for maximum funny, has shapeshifted into a dog), notices a taxi.
    007: Well, whaddaya know, a taxi! I love living in a comic!
  • Mashin Hero Wataru Series: Himiko is keen on Soukaizan's Strictly Formula system and uses them to her absolute advantage. When competing ninjutsus with Chuta Oniwaban of Seikaizan, Chuta shows off by transforming himself into a cool dragon, but then Himiko one ups him by transforming herself as Ryujinmaru, and forced smack Chuta as "the background dragon of Ryujinmaru;" you know, the dragon in all of Ryujinmaru's Dynamic Entry sequences.
  • In episode 21 of Cowboy Bebop, The Rival of the episode (who shows up whenever Spike is about to apprehend the villain and cocks everything up) has a very distinctive, Ennio Morricone-esque leitmotif associated with his appearances. Que the final encounter between Spike and the villain and Spike shuts up the villain when he suddenly thinks he hears whistling.
  • In the Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic prequel series Adventures of Sinbad, we get this after Sinbad, Mystras and Ja'far wind up naked in the wilderness.
    Ja'far: (pointing from an angle where his hands strategically hide the others' crotches) Listen, why don't you hide those instead?
    Sinbad: Hide what?
    Ja'far: Those things that aren't supposed to be seen on-screen!
    Mystras: What screen?
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Part Three, at one point, when it seems like enemy stand user ZZnote  has burned protagonist Jotaro to death, he declares:
    ZZ: "I won! I ended Part Three early!"
    Jotaro: [burrowing out of the ground] "Oh? And who's going to replace me, Jotaro Kujo, as the main character? You didn't think it would be you, did you?"
  • Done for a gag in Aggressive Retsuko: A Very Metal Christmas. When Fenneko proclaims that Instagram is eating Retsuko's soul, Haida comments that "they're not going to like this episode".

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