Cosmo Jarvis and Anna Sawai as John Blackthorne, the Anjin, and Lady Mariko in Shōgun
(FX)

The First Truly Viral Meme to Come Out of Shōgun Is, Predictably, Hilarious

Who knew translation could be this funny?

FX’s historical drama Shōgun is officially over, after giving us all ten of the best episodes put to screen in recent years. Everything from the intradiegetic—the story and the characters—to the extradiegetic—the beautiful cinematography and the pacing of the plot—is absolutely brilliant and well worth watching.

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And like all pieces of media in this modern day and age, Shōgun has also contributed to the meme generator machine. The series has launched a few memes since its start but arguably only just recently, in the lead-up to the season finale, became the protagonist of its own massively popular, truly viral meme format.

It took a bit longer than it usually would with a show this popular—maybe because Shōgun’s story is so tightly paced even though it seemingly flows with the slow and calculated movements of the people in late 16th-century Japan—but it got here.

The meme in question centers on Cosmo Jarvis’s John Blackthorne and Anna Sawai’s Lady Mariko. The pair are two of the three characters around which the story revolves—the other being, of course, Hiroyuki Sanada’s Lord Toranaga—and they spent a good majority of their time on screen together by virtue of Mariko being the only one of Toranaga’s most trusted vassals to speak Portuguese and so the only one who can translate between her lord and the Anjin, as the Japanese have called Blackthorne ever since he first washed up on their shores.

While Blackthorne was initially concerned about whether or not Mariko was going to translate faithfully—considering she’s Catholic and he’s Protestant and so they are technically on opposing sides—it becomes clear pretty quick that she does indeed report his words truthfully. Or better, she conveys his meaning and his feelings, sure, but knows when to take the bite out of Blackthorne’s words to not accidentally offend someone.

And it’s precisely this divide between Blackthorne’s sometimes pretty impulsive insults and the polite but still cutting way Mariko translates them in Japanese that has given birth to this particular meme. And the iterations are, of course, hilarious.

Like this is pretty much me ever since that god-awful movie known as The Rise of Skywalker was released:

And this is also me because I am a Certified ASOIAF Yapper™ before I am a person:

Mariko and Blackthorne at the Council of Elrond?

I bet Toranaga throws apples almost as well as any Ranger:

What about Blackthorne’s take on the MCU?

John tell us what your favorite TTPD song is:

Sadly I’m not a physics person at all but I suppose this is funny to the people who are:

Honestly, Blackthorne might be onto something here:

Considering the general mood of the show, Blackthorne might not be the only one:

This one managed to loop in another iconic meme:

And then of course you have the metanarrative take:

And another one:

(featured image: FX)


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Author
Benedetta Geddo
Benedetta (she/her) lives in Italy and has been writing about pop culture and entertainment since 2015. She has considered being in fandom a defining character trait since she was in middle school and wasn't old enough to read the fanfiction she was definitely reading and loves dragons, complex magic systems, unhinged female characters, tragic villains and good queer representation. You’ll find her covering everything genre fiction, especially if it’s fantasy-adjacent and even more especially if it’s about ASOIAF. In this Bangtan Sonyeondan sh*t for life.