One day we were all scrolling through our Twitter feeds aimlessly and then, out of nowhere, an anime man sporting an innocent look popped up. The image depicts a guy who points to a butterfly and wonders if it’s a pigeon.
Like what tends to happen with most memes, the initial message of the image starts to vary, with people rushing in to add their own touch. The one thing that remained throughout the different versions of the oblivious anime man is the fact that he does not know what the hell he’s talking about. But where did he come from? Why is he such a big deal? Why does this screenshot lend itself to be the most perfect and malleable meme?
Interestingly enough, the screenshot is from a 1991 anime series called “The Brave Fighter Of Sun Fighbird.” According to Kotaku, the guy from the meme is the protagonist of the show. He’s also an android from outer space who doesn’t know the first thing about Earth and it’s creatures, hence the confusion over butterflies and pigeons.
While the meme first started popping up in 2011 on Tumblr, it only recently became mainstream on other social media websites. Vox believes that the meme has become so successful because it’s pliable and also easy to understand. They also argue that a meme like this one lends itself to present both sides of a debate, which fits very neatly into our current political and social climate.
People have gotten very creative with the oblivious anime guy to an extent that is truly impressive, resulting in deeply relatable images that are always funny. There are also a few entries that are artistic and tap into a level of meta and self-awareness that’s a little bit scary. Check out some of our favorites:
— Cat Graffam (@catgraffam) May 4, 2018
— Brandy Jensen (@BrandyLJensen) May 1, 2018
— J. Jennifer Espinoza (@sadqueer4life) May 1, 2018
— Jason Adam Katzenstein (@JasonAdamK) May 14, 2018
lord help me i’ve been swipin’ again pic.twitter.com/fy0W34Ef1y
— Cole Ott (@coleott) May 10, 2018
— Monica Loya (@_monicaloya) May 7, 2018
Here’s a meme for you pixelartist/gamedevs out there pic.twitter.com/eFRGYCFof9
— Eldraev (@Eldraev) May 8, 2018
— Stefan (@Zin5ki) May 8, 2018