Anime fans’ first taste of the complicated honorific style of Japanese speech known as keigo often comes in the form of titles attached to the end of one’s name. One of the most respectful of these titles is “sama,” which is often translated as “sir” or “madam” and is used to refer to someone higher in rank than oneself.
Japanese ranking site Goo has asked their readers to identify the anime characters that, for whatever reason, you wouldn’t want to be caught calling on without sticking a -sama on there. Some of these characters deserve respect, while others are just too scary to cross.
Let’s find out who gets respect in the anime world:
(Benio Yonomori, Engaged to the Unidentified)
(Mineva Lao Zabi, Mobile Suit Gundam)
(Seijuro Akashi, Kuroko’s Basketball)
(Paptimus Scirocco, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam)
(Chikage Kazama, Hakuoki)
(Reinhard von Lohengramm, Legend of the Galactic Heroes)
(Hozuki, Hozuki’s Coolheadedness)
(Vearn, Dragon Quest: Dai no Daiboken)
(Kaito Kuroba, Detective Conan/Case Closed)
(Heart, Fist of the North Star)
(Haku, Spirited Away)
(Haman Karn, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam)
(Oscar François de Jarjayes, Rose of Versailles)
(Dio Brando, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure)
(Keigo Atobe, Prince of Tennis)
Number three on the list is Yupa, the wise old swordsman who acts as a mentor to Nausicaa in Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Yupa is a wise leader and a fierce warrior, and this “sama” is definitely out of pure respect.
Number two on the list: Doronjo, from the classic anime series Yatterman. Doronjo, the sexy leader of the Dorombo Gang, is famously vain, and this use of “-sama” comes, perhaps, with a bit of irony. Doronjo was played by Kyoko Fukada in the 2009 live-action version of Yatterman.
Topping out the list is none other than Dragon Ball’s Frieza. Frieza is one of the most powerful opponents in the series, and was recently resurrected for the new Dragon Ball film and TV series. We dare you to say hi to Frieza without tacking a -sama on. We dare you.
OUSAers, your turn: who else deserves some -samaing?