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World Of Cardboard Speech / Anime & Manga

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"World of Cardboard" Speeches in anime and manga.


  • At one point in the Attack on Titan anime, Eren can't bring himself to fight because of recent revelations creating subconscious doubt and the fact that he's been severely injured. His friends try to make him see sense, each in their own way characteristic to them. Mikasa simply says that "The world is a cruel place" and that there is no other option: it's fight or die. Armin tells Eren "Someone who can't sacrifice anything can never hope to change anything" and encourages him to abandon his humanity to combat an inhuman threat. Jean brusquely reminds him that everyone's trusting him enough to give their lives for him and that if they stop now, Marco's death will mean nothing. By the time Eren finishes, we're given a summary of everything that's influenced him and motivates him to keep going on, including the discussion of choices he had with Levi and being forced to live with the consequences.
    Armin: [earlier] Someone who can't sacrifice anything can never hope to change anything.
    Eren: [internal monologue] I know that... that's why I failed. I clung to my companions and my ties to them, and I failed. [I need to] remember... [flashbacks of fallen Survey Corps members and his mother getting eaten* (angrily) I'll wipe you all out... no, I'll kill you! There's no time to figure out if this is the right thing to do! Don't try to keep your hands clean! That's right... this world... is cruel!!! [cue Unstoppable Rage and Titan transformation]''
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  • In Beyblade, Kai gives an awesome one before defeating Brooklyn.
    Kai: Kai. That's my name. And I'm a Beyblader. And you might think you are, but you're not. You learned from the best but you forgot a very important lesson. Beyblading isn't just about overpowering your opponent with fancy moves. That's only part of the game. There's more to it than that. Much more. That's why I have something you don't. I have learned from every battle I fought. Every friend, enemy, and spectator always had something to offer me. And I'm a student to this game. And I always will be. With the hardships of training, competitions, the wins and the losses, they all taught me something. And I've taken that knowledge and used it to my advantage. That's why I can say, that I'm a true beyblader. That's what keeps me going. And that's my strength. I don't think you ever will (understand). Because you're not a true beyblader. You have the power and the skill, but something is missing from inside you. You don't have the beyblading spirit! That's why I have to win this battle! Because beyblading means more to me than you could ever understand! IT'S NOT JUST A GAME TO ME! FINISH HIM NOW DRANZER!"
  • Bleach:
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    • Ichigo tells Ishida about losing his mother, and after seeing his father and sisters suffer as a result, not wanting anyone else to feel the same. He states that he can't save everyone, but wants to protect as many people as he can, which makes Ishida reflect on his grandfather's teachings and accept his offer to fight the Hollows together.
    • Ichigo again at the end of the Deicide Arc having attained full control of his power after properly communing with his Zanpakutou. Able to literally wipe out mountains with a casual sword swing, he calmly tells Aizen that he has surpassed him in strength and is tired of Aizen's speeches. Made all the more awesome given at this point, Aizen and Ichigo are the two most powerful characters in the series, even surpassing Yamamoto (pre-Bankai).
  • In the manga version of Bokurano, Takami "Komo" Komoda, who was lonely and detached from the world for much of her childhood, plays the piano as part of a plan to lure out the enemy pilot, who has fled from his robot. She gives an internal monologue about everything she has noticed about the world, and how she considers it beautiful and something that could only come about as a result of a miracle.
    Komo: Thank you everyone. If only I had noticed what exactly surrounds me sooner. But it's okay, now that I have noticed. Noticed the world.
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  • Rolo of Code Geass overcomes his training as a tool due to his feelings of brotherly love for Lelouch, enabling him to utilize his Geass so effectively he wipes out entire squadrons of Knightmares. Even as the strain is killing him, he's happily explaining how Lelouch has finally made it possible for him to feel like a human.
  • Cowboy Bebop:
    • Spike Spiegel gives one of these to Jet before he leaves for his final confrontation with Vicious. After spending the entire series running from his past, he's finally going to face it.
      Spike: There once was a tiger-striped cat. This cat died a million deaths, was revived, and lived a million lives, and he was owned by various people who he really didn't care for. The cat wasn't afraid to die. Then one day the cat became a stray cat which meant he was free. He met a white female cat and the two of them spent their days together happily. Well, years passed and the white cat grew weak and died of old age. The tiger-striped cat cried a million times, and then he died too. Except this time, he didn't come back to life.
    • Discussed a bit with Faye.
      Faye: Is that it? You're just going to throw your life away?
      Spike: I'm not going there to die. I'm going there to see if I was ever really alive.
  • Digimon Adventure:
    • In the finale, the Digidestined and their Digimon have been digitized by Apocalymon, their Digimon were reverted to their base forms, and their crests are destroyed. They realize that their crests were powered by their own spirits and thus they didn't need the physical items, and they return to face Apocalymon with a "World of Cardboard" Speech and proceed to battle him.
    • During the hunt for their crests, which allow their digimon to evolve into more powerful forms, they found that each crest represented something special and unique about them and it would only work when they were exhibiting those attributes. Tai's crest was Courage, but he tried to force Agumon to evolve by putting himself in harm's way, which caused a warped evolution into SkullGreymon, a violent berserker. A very traumatizing mistake, but Tai learned that courage wasn't rushing into a battle, but standing up against evil, allowing Agumon to evolve into his proper form, MetalGreymon. Each digidestined had to go through something similar (although not with warped evolutions) through the remainder of the season.
    • The original gives Agumon one about the strength of his bond with his friends in the 50th episode, at the climax of his fight with Mugendramon. The dub, being the dub, turns it into him reminding Machinedramon of exactly what it is his claws do to Digimon of his type.
  • Dragon Ball Z
  • There are some example in Eyeshield 21, but mention particular to Yukimitsu Inner Monologue before score a touchdown against the Shinryuuji Naga that is also a message to all the weakling, geeky type in the world of getting out and trying sports.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • In the first anime:
      Edward: Even after I became a soldier, war still seemed like something that happened in a far off land, where I couldn't see it... or someone else fought and died. It didn't seem real... I thought war had nothing to do with me... But now that... I learned there's someone who's willing to start war, who's going to start war, just for the Stone... I know that as long as there are people who seek the Stone's forbidden power, that bloodshed will keep happening... And I know the desire for that power, lurks somewhere in all of us... The Homunculi may throw fuel on the fire of war... But didn't the desire to bring back people we love, create them?... And if they're nothing more than products of our hearts and minds, no matter how pure our intentions... Then there will never be... a war, that isn't at least in some part, caused by all of us... ever.
    • And in the final scene (doubling as Book-Ends, as nearly every episode began with first the four sentences of this speech):
      Alphonse: Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is alchemy's first law of Equivalent Exchange. In those days, we really believed that to be the world's one and only truth. But the world isn't perfect, and the law is incomplete. Equivalent Exchange doesn't encompass everything that goes on here, but I still choose to believe in its principle, that all things do come at a price, that there's an ebb, and a flow. A cycle, that the pain we went through did have a reward, and that anyone who's determined and perseveres, will get something of value, even if it's not what they expected. I don't think of Equivalent Exchange as a law of the world anymore. I think of it as a promise, between my brother and me. A promise that some day, we'll see each other again.
    • Roy Mustang also gives one to Ed, Al, and Winry when he tracks the brothers down after Ed and Al escape from Lior. It's about the difficulties he has as a veteran of Ishbal including killing Winry's parents, and how he came to Ed and Al not to bring them back to the military, but of his own volition in order to protect them.
  • In Gundam Build Divers, Kyoya Kujo finds himself and his Gundam AGE-II Magnum pinned down by a mercenary piloting a Providence Gundam. It takes Kyoya a bit before he realizes his opponent and those he's working for don't care for the video game world they live in. He's able to get behind him and admit that he was hesitant in finding the man who has been selling the Break Decals that have been damaging the game because he feared there were actual users who were using them because they loved the game. Now that he's come to realize that they don't, he's not showing mercy anymore. He, then, proceeds to rip the Providence's DRAGOON backpack off of him and in half, kick its beam rifle away, then obliterate the suit.
  • Tsukasa from .hack//SIGN has a revelation about not needing to fear reality anymore, a la this trope, which enables his escape from "The World". In the process, he gives this speech.
  • In the first few Haruhi Suzumiya books and pretty much the entire anime, Kyon is just trying to get by, to do what he needs to do to deal with Haruhi and little more, relying on Nagato to handle any really serious issues. Then the whole world changes, so that he could go back to a normal life. In the end, he decides (In a World of Cardboard Monologue) that he much prefers the old world, and is willing to go back and enjoy it head on, and no longer rely on Yuki so much, whom had caused the events of the story as part of a nervous breakdown. The Movie version of this is epic.
  • The Final Trials in Heartcatch Pretty Cure were pretty much this: the four Cures are set against their Mirage selves, embodying their own hang-ups (Tsubomi's insecurity, Erika's jealousy towards her sister, Itsuki's denial of being herself, and Yuri's regrets and failures). As each Cure fights, they come to realize that that's what makes them who they are and they'll use it to become stronger. It takes Tsubomi the longest since she isn't sure if she can confront that part of herself, but she does. It helps unlock their Super Mode in the end, so that's a plus.
  • In only chapter 6 (anime episode 2) of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Jotaro is on the losing end of his battle against Kakyoin, but keeps getting back up in spite of being heavily wounded. He then gives a speech about his motivations to fight, and the difference between him and his opponent. This promptly turns the fight around as Jotaro finally unleashes his Stand for the first time, leaving Kakyoin almost dead in the end.note 
    Kakyoin: And still, you get up. You are so pathetic; you're nothing more than a sandbag, about to be pummeled by a skilled boxer. Why even bother standing up? I'm just gonna knock you down again.
    Jotaro: ...Look, no one ever said Jotaro Kujo was a nice guy. I beat the crap out of people more than I have to. Some are even still in the hospital. I've had idiot teachers who like to talk big, so I taught them a lesson, and they never came back to class. If I go to a restaurant and the food's bad, I make it a policy to stiff 'em with the bill. But...even a bastard like me can spot true evil when he sees it! True evil are those who use the weak for their own gain and crush them underfoot when they're through! Especially an innocent woman! And that is exactly what you've done, isn't it?! And your Stand gets to hide from the victim, the law, and the consequences! That's why... I WILL JUDGE YOU MYSELF!!!
  • In Katanagatari Shichika is given a set of rules by Togame when they start travelling together. Towards the end of the story when he no longer is bound by them, he calmly explains to his opponents how each of the rules were holding him back, and demonstrates just exactly how powerful he really is when those rules aren't holding him back.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Fate gives a totally epic one in episode 12 before going on to have her Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • In the finale of Mobile Fighter G Gundam, the hero, Domon, does one of these combined with a love confession in one of the most heartwarming moments in the series, and often considered the most genuine love story in the Gundam franchise.
  • A major Tear Jerker example with Licenseless Rider's speech in One-Punch Man:
    Licenseless Rider: No one expects much from me... They think a C-Class hero won't be much help. I know that better than anyone. I'm not good enough for Class B. I'm weak. I know that much. No one has to tell me I have no chance of beating you. I already... know that! And yet, I must try. It's not about winning or losing! It's about me taking you on right here, right now!
  • Detective Ikari does this in the last episode of Paranoia Agent. As one of the characters who has gotten some of the worst of it: he lost his job, his wife died, and he was too old to learn any new skills. His "World of Cardboard" Speech comes when he destroys the 2-D fantasy world with a baseball bat, claiming that the real world has no place for an old man like him, but that he would rather face that harsh reality than live in a fantasy world. It is truly epic to watch.
  • Sakura of Penguin Musume gives one to Marie, talking about her strength from the Power of Friendship. The weird thing was, that at this point, Sakura was gigantic and Marie wasn't. There was no real point to start a battle of wills that ultimately evened the scales after Marie gave her own World of Cardboard Speech where she said she didn't need her friends. And ironically, it was Marie saying she didn't need her friends that provoked them to give her their love and even the scales.
  • Happens at the end of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, when Madoka finally makes her wish to become a magical girl. The whole series up to this point lays out why she should never, ever do this, first because her naive selflessness would put her in danger, and later because this would literally cause a planet-scale apocalypse due to her uncontrollable power turning her into an unstoppable witch. But she realizes that there's a way around the latter problem, allowing her to use her immense power for good, and fulfilling her desire to sacrifice herself to save others:
    Madoka: I wish to erase all witches before they are born. All the witches in all the universes, both past and future. With my own hands! note 
    Kyubey: If a prayer like that were granted, it could unravel the fabric of time itself! It would go against the very force of karmic destiny! Do you truly intend to become a god?
    Madoka: I don't care what I become. All those who have fought against witches, who believed in hope as magical girls... I don't want to see them cry. I want them to be smiling to the very end. If any rule or law stands in the way of that, I will destroy it. I will rewrite it. That is my prayer... my wish. Now, grant my wish, Incubator!
  • Occurs in The SoulTaker when the protagonist, suffering from repressed guilt about Maya's death, allows the Soul Anubis to pummel him... until he comes to a realization.
    Kyōsuke: I wanted to feel the pain Maya suffered, even just for a moment. I felt that I should know that pain. But right now, no matter how many times I'm hit, I'm not able to feel the pain. So now, I'm ending it.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • Simon gets an awesome speech when he breaks out of his Heroic BSoD and comes to accept his own strengths and weaknesses instead of measuring himself against Kamina. Then he drills General Guame a new one.
      Simon: My bro is dead. He's gone! But he's right there on my back, and here in my heart! He lives on as a part of me! If you're gonna dig, dig to the heavens. No matter what's in my way, I won't stop! Once I've dug through — it means that I've won! Just who the hell do you think I am? I'm Simon. I'm not my Bro! I'M ME!! Simon the Digger!
    • And then there's the speech to the Anti-Spiral, which is on the quotes page.
  • Thunderbolt Fantasy: After a comment by Syou Fu Kan upsets Ken San Un, Ken mocks Syou for carrying himself like a swordmaster, but having a sword fighting style that has no flair or style to it as if he were instead wielding a blunt weapon, giving him the title "Edgeless Blade", which Syou feels fits him just fine. Moments later they are ambushed by the Black Demon Sect's Chou Mei who now has them all cornered to kill them. During the ensuing fight, Syou throws his sword aside to kill a Mook that was about to kill Ken. Chou Mei believes he has Syou cornered, when he suddenly picks a stick up off the ground. Ken tries to rush the sword back to him, but is startled when he realizes the sword is a fake made of silver-painted wood. Syou Fu Kan then proceeds to Curb-Stomp Battle all of the mooks with nothing more than the stick, including exploding some of their heads off:
    Chou Mei: You bastard! How did you do that without a sword?!
    Syou Fu Kan: You need to stop making dumb assumptions. See, I was never using a sword in the first place.
    Chou Mei: Impossible! This can't be!
    Syou Fu Kan: Did you think that only metal could form an edge?! Don't presume so much, boy! If you channel the right force into it, then hair and cloth can split flesh and shatter bone!
    [Syou Fu Kan twirls around, and the edge of his cloak decapitates another of Chou Mei's soldiers]
    Chou Mei: Just who in the world are you?!
    Syou Fu Kan: They call me the Edgeless Blade... apparently. Though we just came up with that. Now then... if you run, I won't chase you.
  • At the end of Tiger & Bunny, Kotetsu gives one when he returns from his 10-Minute Retirement.
    Kotetsu: And you know what? I realized you don't get to set your own limits. Even after I lose my powers and get mocked by everyone or look ridiculous, I'm not going to let that stop me. I'm going to stay a hero to the very end. I'm not going to give up. Besides, it doesn't hurt to have a hero who's uncool, right?
  • Vinland Saga: Canute delivers one in the first arc as he abandons his Shrinking Violet character and matures into a true prince intent on seizing and using the power available to him to build a better world. In the second arc, Thorfinn delivers a three-part speech as he comes to realize his views on life and suffering and matures fully into the All-Loving Hero that his father was. Notably, the third part is delivered to Canute and ends up deconstructing some of the motivation he described in his speech in the last arc.
  • Monster: Around the 20th episode, Lunge has finally snared Tenma, and he is holding him at gunpoint. The catch, however, is that Lunge has been previously wounded by a killer, and is slowly bleeding to death. In spite of that, he refuses to be given first aid by Tenma and proceed instead to explain him why he is so convinced that Johan does not exists and is instead Tenma the sole culprit of the murders he is investigating. Since Tenma is a professional surgeon, Lunge's theory is that the extreme coldness that he is able to read in the murders scenes is a perfect match with the coldness he expects Tenma to be equipped with while operating. Upon hearing this, Tenma boldly tells Lunge that he is completely wrong and that the truth is actually the exact opposite of what the inspector believes: he is never cold while operating but actually very nervous, because he knows very well how a single misstep may spell disaster on the life of his patients. Rebuking Lunge so firmly gives Tenma the resolve to challenge his gun, walk to him, and save him before it's too late.


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