Some lines in anime just stand out as exceptionally dramatic or memorable. Something you’ll quote in seriousness or jest or just as a fun memory of a show. So along the lines of a post I did a year or so back, here are ten quotes and selections of dialog that I’ve always found particularly memorable. Among them are ones that just made the scene they were in, others that feel like they say something of worth beyond just entertainment. But all of which are memorable and hold a special place in my experience of their respective series. Nine from anime, one from manga, in no particular order. And share your own in the comments! Spoilers are present within the body of each entry.
Code Geass R2, episode 04
After regaining his memories of the events of season one Lelouch finds Rolo planted in place of Nunally to keep tabs on him. He…doesn’t take it well considering that Nunally was his whole reason (or so he said) for launching his rebellion in the first place. Trying to take action against him doesn’t work until he manages to sell Rolo some lies about how he care for him because of the time they spent together and thinks of him as a brother. And then uses his Geass to have a sniper stage a moment where Lelouch takes the hit with his knightmare frame for Rolo. Rolo is now crying and full of that whole ‘power of friendship’ stuff while Lelouch delivers this line in an internal monologue, just dripping with hatred and contempt. It’s beautiful to my ears! While I supported Suzaku against Lelouch’s rebellion all through seasons one and two, regardless of this there’s nothing more satisfying that seeing a plot like that come together. At a devious point or two in life I could certainly identify with the intoxicating feeling of having your enemy right where you want him and have him thank you for it. It also helped that I hated Rolo from the start. I did nothing but cheer and laugh at his death later in season two.
True Tears, episode 11
“Shinichiro no kokoro no naka ni…Show ▼
In shipping wars limited and total I don’t think there’s been words that have struck so deeply, with such a sense of sadness and defeat as these. Everything had been going so well for Noe up until a little after the half-way point in the show. But she slowly began to lose ground as Shinichiro repeated the mistakes of his father and chose the evil, resentful one and spurn his true love, the one who actually completed him as a person. Noe took it as well as she could, singing a variation of her usual rhyming songs, but it was a heartbreaking line to hear.
Simoun, episode 25
When you stop living by forcing your feelings upon others it feels as if you’re standing in another, larger world. Because I was always waiting I came to believe that everything was the fault of the one I cared for. I can’t keep living like that. I want to feel truly loved.
This was the final, culminating moment that set to rest what was a long, passionate, and complicated relationship between Paraietta and Neviril. For the longest time with Paraietta it was all about waiting on Neviril, hoping that she could be strong for her and have Neviril come to depend on that strength. I’m always a fan of when the typical mamoru-ism present in much of anime (“I’ll protect you/be the one to protect you”/every word out of Touma’s mouth) is subverted by a healthy dose of reality. xxxHolic did this in its second season quite well when Watanuki learned the price of trying to save everyone by sacrificing himself, and in a different way this realization of Paraietta’s addresses the same topic. And it’s so powerful here because of the long, twisting journey that Paraietta took through the series to finally come to this point. She stood by as a leader and childhood friend but sulked in the shadows when Neviril was paired with other girls in the beginning of the series. She kept this waiting approach and never made a move later to the point where she bottled up so much and got so impatient that she almost raped Neviril before stopping herself. After that moment of self-disgust it still took her time and several conversations with Kaimu and Alti to begin to realize where she went wrong. Neviril was all that mattered to her through the series and it took real strength of character and deep introspection to come to realize that she was actually blaming her for everything. She finally saw the truth behind her ‘mamoru-ism’ protecting of Neviril, her jealousy of Aaeru, and her unconscious hostility towards Neviril, and managed to let go of all of it. Quite a powerful moment.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes, episode 110
[spoken] Can you see those stars, Felix? [internal monologue] I wonder if you’ll go on a journey through those stars one day. And at that time I wonder if you’ll go alone or… [he speaks to his wife and then Felix reaches up] You too, Felix?
One of the final lines of Legend of the Galactic Heroes is, my favorite character, Wolfgang Mittermeyer to his newly adopted son as the latter reaches up to “seize the universe” just as Reinhard had spoken of doing. After all that both sides have been through over the course of the series, with some sort of peace and stability fought for and established, yet again human ambition seeks to change it, to overthrow, to seize. In the innocent, instinctual action of a baby one of the major overarching themes of the entire 110 episode series is conveyed. Simply but clearly and powerfully to underscore that “in every age, in every place, the deeds of men remain the same.” Mittermeyer, skilled and loyal veteran of Reinhard’s wars that he is, can only sigh briefly at this display of human nature but then smile and enjoy another part of the human experience, the warmth of his loving family.
Shiki, episode 11
Sunako, there was something I was thinking of asking you the next time I saw you, too. Are you Abel? I think…you’re a Shiki.
Despite him being treacherous, Shiki-sympathizer scum, I always really enjoyed Muroi’s talks with Sunako in his ‘secret base’ in the abandoned chapel. They were like a subtle but very tense probing back and forth as each tried to figure the other out leading to this point at the halfway point of the show. After relating his idea for his next story Sunako points out how it draws from the Abel and Cain motif in the Old Testament. As he explains the younger brother character and what he’s called, a Shiki, he finally prods more strongly and asks Sunako about what she is. While it’s done in a roundabout way, as all their conversations have gone, the manner in which it is so much more direct than other questions charges the atmosphere of the scene. The music, the visual setup, it was all perfect. And the actual line “君はアベルのかい？” always stuck in my head, prominent among many great moments from an excellent show.
Honey and Clover, episode 13
I planted basil and beefsteak plants on my balcony in the beginning of summer. They quickly grew under the summer sun. But during one of the July typhoons, the tallest beefsteak plant snapped in two. My mother looked at the snapped plant and said “They won’t return to normal, so tear it off where it broke. If you do that a new stem will grow from there and new leaves will grow from it.” But I couldn’t help but hesitate because the small leaves on the end of the stem were still healthy. They didn’t change at all after the stem snapped. [...] I hoped that your heart would tilt just a little towards me. Why do I always end up dreaming? Over and over, never getting tired of it, like a fool repeating the only thing she knows. I went out on the balcony a few days later, the snapped beefsteak plant was writing on the ground, unable to hold up its own weight. It was just like my mom said. I had no choice but to tear it off where it snapped. There was no choice but to break it there and let it grow a new stem. But I still become hopelessly confused. Unable to break this feeling. Unable to break…
A running internal monologue that ran throughout the second half of episode thirteen, and a wonderful metaphor worth quoting at length. It stands as such a memorable quote to me for two reasons. Honey and Clover was always a very expressive series, able to express emotions of all varieties in creative words, imagery, and music. This running metaphor for Yamada’s unrequited love for Mayama being one a great example of this ability. It shows how Yamada has internalized her fear of letting go but also how difficult it is for her to overcome it. And the other reason is that it’s relatable and the viewer can really feel and sympathize with the emotions being presented. The main reason Honey and Clover is my favorite series is that all the characters speak directly to me, and to anyone who’s gone through that college and early adulthood stage of life. I was no Yamada shipper but I think that everyone has at least walked a few steps in her shoes, and in the shoes of all the other characters in the show. As necessary as it is to move on for Yamada, for each of us at certain points in life, it’s still not easy.
Planetes, volume 3, chapters 12 and 16
The Cat: That’s your big revelation? How normal.
Hachi: I needed to feel normal.
This is the final moment in a running conversation that occurs at the start and end of volume 03 of the Planetes manga between Hachirota and an illusory cat that enters his mind after he sees a cat struck by a car staring right at him as it limps away dying. [All of this (and more) great stuff was left out of the mediocre anime adaptation, so for the millionth time: if you've only seen the anime FOR GOD'S SAKE, READ THE MANGA!] The actual cat at the start of the volume was a very haunting image, barely visible intestines hanging out of it, a thick trail of blood, looking straight at Hachi in a way that gives you chills when you look at the panel. Hachi has successfully managed to become part of the Von Braun crew for their trip to Jupiter but has seemed to lose all energy and motivation. While going ‘camping’ on the moon he has something like a near-death experience when the white cat with the strangely long tail first appears. It’s not quite feasible to quote the entire conversation plus context, but importantly the cat questions Hachi’s claims that he can’t find a way home, telling him that he’s human, he loves Ai, and that that’s enough for him to survive. It takes some time but eventually this sinks in and he heads to Earth to see her, recalling and strengthening his love for her. The night after announcing their engagement to his parents Hachi departs for a few moments when he sees the cat. Now full of confidence in his motivations he reaches one of his most important moments of realization. That he was so angry and fearful that he thought the isolation of space would let him run away. Except that he’s realized that space, Earth, everywhere is connected and for all the beauty and danger of it he can survive because he has people he cares for and that care for him. Quite the normal revelation, as the cat told him, but a very important one for Hachi.
Cowboy Bebop, episode 26
Does much more even need to be said? It was the perfect ending to the series, filled with the smooth attitude and stoic film noir influences that infused every second of Cowboy Bebop. It just couldn’t have ended any more perfectly.
Mobile Suit Gundam, episode 12/Soldiers of Sorrow compilation movie
Probably THE most well known speech in all of anime is Ghiren Zabi’s speech at the funeral for his brother Garma. The opening image of this post was even something of a tribute to it in Code Geass, complete with the repetition by the audience. It showed just how vicious and determined Zeon was to destroy the Earth Federation and place the Zabi family as corrupt autocratic rulers of all humanity. And it also signaled a new phase in the war as Ghiren Zabi’s place in the Zabi hierarchy became more prominent. SIEG ZEON is something long remembered and much references and imitated, and it would serve as the rallying cry of later Zekes and their viewer sympathizers for years to come.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes, episode 110
To accomplish just this little thing we needed 500 years of time and billions of lives. If only the people hadn’t lost their interest in politics around the end of the Galactic Confederation. If only they knew how dangerous it was to give unlimited power to a despot and if only they had learned from history how many people would be made unhappy under a government that prioritized national profits over people’s rights we wouldn’t have had to sacrifice as much as we did. Politics always takes vengeance on those who belittle it.
Absolutely my favorite single quote from any anime series is the final sentence here. It’s something I even rank alongside the best real world quotes on history and politics. Over 110 episodes wars raged back and forth as the Reich and the Alliance governments rise, fell, and reinvented themselves leading in the end to republican democracy being restored to only one small corner of human territory. The Alliance that Yang and Julian fought to uphold collapsed under the weight of its own failings. At moments Yang and his inner circle even wondered if the people of their country even deserved such a system when they would abandon their principles to opportunistic politicians out of greed or fear. History certainly took its vengeance on them. But at the same time the people are all that can comprise and maintain a democracy and perhaps what Julian helped to build will endure if they remember the bloody lessons of the past.