While anime is infamous for featuring characters using random English expressions, often in the form of attacks or magic spells, there are plenty of anime characters who are fluent in English in canon. Often, this comes with the explanation of the character having spent some time overseas.
This often gets lost in translation when a series is translated into English, with the character’s language abilities either being dropped entirely or changed to another language. Interestingly, there are a few anime series that take place in English-speaking countries, such as the United States or Australia, with characters technically speaking English to each other, but “translated” into Japanese for the audience.
10 My Hero Academia: Pony Tsunotori Didn’t Speak Japanese As Her First Language
In My Hero Academia, Pony Tsunotori is half-Japanese and half-American and had transferred to U.A. from the United States. English is notably her native language and she even uses it when she gets angry. As Japanese is not her first language, she is also occasionally shown to misunderstand certain phrases, although she’s otherwise competent in the language.
9 Sailor Moon: Minako Aino Speaks English In The ’90s Anime
In the ’90s anime of Sailor Moon, Minako Aino, the alter-ego of Sailor Venus, was shown to have fought evil in London back when she was Sailor V. When explaining this to Usagi, she mentioned that her friend Katarina helped her to learn English.
This occasionally pops up in later episodes. When Usagi wanted to become more intellectual, she specifically asked Minako for help with English. It also comes in handy when the girls are invited to a party with international students. Ironically, in the original manga, Minako seemed to have trouble with English like Usagi, even using a magic pen to cheat on her English homework.
8 Detective Conan: Both Conan & Heiji Seem Fluent In The Language
Shinichi, the titular Detective Conan, has been shown to speak English on occasion, likely as a reflection of his vast intellectual talents. It’s possible his fondness for the language is related to his admiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. One story shows that he can even tell the difference between a British and a Texan accent.
Heiji Hattori has been shown to have a surprising grasp of the English language, too. The reason for this is that his family once played host to an American girl. As Heiji helped her to learn Japanese, she also helped him learn English.
7 Ojamajo Doremi: Momoko Lived In America
In Ojamajo Doremi, Momoko, the yellow-costumed witch, moved to the United States with her family and spent quite some time there. Because of this, she is often heard speaking English. In fact, the character has to take a bit of time to understand Japanese after being introduced.
There are a few hiccups here and there: Momoko once refers to her earring as a “pierce,” which reflects the Japanese translation of the word rather than what an American would call it.
6 Kimagure Orange Road: Madoka Is A Woman Of Many Talents, Including English
In Kimagure Orange Road, Madoka has a talent for virtually everything: academics, athletics, music, and fighting off delinquents. She is even loved by both children and animals. It’s surprising that she isn’t the one with supernatural powers. Naturally, one of her many talents includes a command of the English language.
This shows up in a story dealing with the characters visiting Hawaii, where thugs mistake Hikaru for a local heiress.
5 Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt: The Anarchy Sisters Have A Colorful Take On The English Language
Given how much Western animation was an influence on Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, it makes sense that English would occasionally show up in the series. That said, it often comes in the form of curses words, especially when the less-than-angelic Panty is the one talking.
In fact, the music video for “D City Rock” implies that Panty is quite fluent in the language since she is portrayed as the singer for the song, and it, like many of the series’ songs, is performed in English.
4 Asobi Asobase: Fujiwara & Olivia’s Robot Double Can Speak English
One of the main characters in Asobi Asobase, Olivia, is presented as an American exchange student who actually doesn’t speak English because she was really born and raised in Japan. Her classmate, Fujiwara, is actually the one who can speak the language quite well.
That said, an android built in Olivia’s likeness appears in one episode and it has good control of the English language. Unfortunately, she also likes to curse and violently threaten people who try to get her to use decent language.
3 Azumanga Daioh: Chiyo’s Father Might Just Be A Floating, Bilingual Cat
In Azumanga Daioh, a floating yellow cat who claims to be Chiyo’s father appears to a few of the characters. In an infamous scene where he appears to Osaka, he actually speaks in English, even claiming, “I wish I were a bird.” Osaka asks him why he is speaking English, to which he says that it’s because his daughter would soon be going to America, suggesting he recently learned the language.
Interestingly, the series’ English teacher, Yukari Tanizaki, is also shown to be quite fluent in English, even being able to talk to a native speaker, despite being an otherwise talentless and apathetic teacher.
2 Soul Eater: Excalibur Even Sings In English
In Soul Eater, Excalibur is a living sword with immense, near divine powers despite looking like something out of The Moomins.As “Excalibur” originates from Arthurian lore, it makes sense he has some understanding of English. Most famously, he gets to sing the “Excalibur Song” in English, even starting the song by saying, “Here we go!”
1 Cipher: The Series Is Set In New York
When the Cipher manga was adapted into a promotional OVA, the showrunners decided to get creative about it: due to the story’s American setting, it was decided to have the cast speak English, with native English speakers living in Japan providing the voice work.
Because of this, various characters, including the two lead twin brothers, Jake “Shiva” Lang and Roy “Cipher” Lang, can be heard speaking in English in a few clips.
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