The 2006 anime series Fate/stay night was a tremendous commercial success. But to most of the anime community the show’s artistic accomplishment is questionable at best, and laughable at worst. Our informant, for one, stands as a rather harsh critic of the series.
The series’ most quoted line is almost always quoted as a joke or an insult. At one point in the series our protagonist Shiro says, with quite the indignation and dramatic posture, “People die if they are killed!”
It is perhaps not surprising at all to see that this line – sometimes in the form of a screenshot of the original scene with subtitles – has now become the go-to meme as a response or insult to when someone makes an utterly redundant statement.
The informant has just finished his undergraduate studies. He would consider himself to have been an avid fan of Japanese anime, manga, and games for more than 6 years. More than simply watching and consuming, he also actively contributes to the community, in the form of reviews, articles, discussions, and translation works. He told me of this folklore as a part of his collection of interesting facts/tales from the anime community.
When asked why he decided to select this piece of folklore, he replied simply that it was one of the most popular and enduring legends in the anime community.
This can be seen as yet another demonstration of the post-literary trend in our communication. It seems to have become far more efficient and effective to simply comment/respond with a meme/reference. More than just conveying the insult/response/joke, the reference is also funny (or at least amusing). Why that is so, I’m not sure. I don’t think anyone is