anime character in glasses motioning at a butterfly

Is This a Pigeon?

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Updated Feb 17, 2021 at 04:55AM EST by shevyrolet.

Added Feb 10, 2015 at 12:00PM EST by Miluk.

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About

"Is this a pigeon?" is a memorable quote said by the protagonist character from the 1990s Japanese anime TV series The Brave Fighter of Sun Fighbird in a scene wherein the humanoid character erroneously identifies a butterfly as a pigeon. On Tumblr, the quote, along with a reaction image of the scene featuring the English-translated subtitle, is widely used to express utter confusion.

Origin

The still shot originates from Season 1, Episode 3 of The Brave Fighter of Sun Fighbird[1] (太陽の勇者ファイバード) (or simply Fighbird), which first premiered in Japan in February 1991, in a scene where Yutaro Katori, a human android created by professor Hiroshi Amano, misidentifies a butterfly as a pigeon while studying the earthly nature. In addition to mistaking a pigeon for a butterfly, Katori also confuses Rosaceae with Violaceae (shown below). On Tumblr, the quote has been occasionally misinterpreted as an example of transcription FAIL, however, it is the direct translation of the original line in verbatim:



Spread

On December 6th, 2011, the image was uploaded for the first time by Tumblr user Indizi dell'avvenuta catastrofe,[2] which managed to gain more than 111,000 notes over the next three years.


6 Dec Is this a pigeon? 荈 anime subtitles are the new zen (yeah, sure) Tagged #anime subtitles are the new zen

On December 11th, the picture was posted on AnimeUltima.tv website and Funny Pics.[6] On November 23th, 2012, the picture was also included in Smosh's article titled "22 Hysterical Anime Screencaps," ranked in the second place.[8] On June 27th, 2013, Buzzfeed highlighted the image in a compilation article titled "27 Subtitles That Have Gone Awesomely Wrong,"[7] which misattributed Katori's quote as a fan-translation FAIL. On TV Tropes, "Is this a pigeon?" is noted as a 'Photo reply to any picture showing a butterfly' in Tumblr's Meme section.[9] Additional examples can also be found on Tumblr through the #is-this-a-pigeon hashtag.[10]

Various Examples


井 s this a pigeon? Tog Frome s this a beepWaliLyouibee mine s this a pigeon
s this a pigeon? | 1酬輁 百祁 Is this a 百科事典 Is this a g



Don't Hug Me I'm Scared III

The popular musical film series directed by Becky Sloan & Joseph Pelling, Don't Hug Me I'm Scared, episode 3 referenced "Is this a pigeon?" fad in form of The Yellow Guy mistaking a butterfly Shrignold for 'A little baby pigeon'. It begun a new collection of editions and variations on Tumblr.[11]



2018 Resurgence

In late April and early May 2018, object-labeled variations of the meme saw a significant resurgence on Twitter. On April 26th, Twitter user romiosini tweeted a version labeling the butterfly as "any makeup look without red lipstick" (shown below, left).[12] On May 3rd, Netflix tweeted a variation joking about how 28-year-old actors are cast as teenagers in "high school TV dramas" (shown below, right).[13] Within one week, the tweet gathered upwards of 40,400 likes and 9,400 retweets.


any makeup look without red lipstick men Is this a bare face SEXY 28 YEAR OLD 0 ACTOR HIGH SCHOOL TV DRAMAS is this IIS A TEEN? 典

In the coming weeks, numerous other object labeled examples were submitted to Twitter and Reddit (shown below).


literally any picture of any animal Is this a absolute unit? any slightly uncomfortable physical sensation 郴 s this death 荈 ANY F------ FEMALE CHARACTER WITH LEGS ANIME TWITTER 百科事典 Is this thicc? 7

On May 11th, 2018, Kara Dennison, one of the original fansubbers of the Fighbird anime, made a Blogspot post about the backstory of the meme and the series which it originated from. [14]

Female Version

On June 26th, 2018, Twitter user @ImFroppy[15] tweeted a picture of a female character from the anime You're Under Arrest holding pigeons with the fake caption "Is this a butterfly?" (shown below). Within 72 hours, the tweet gained over 77,300 likes and 35,800 retweets.


Is this a butterfly?

The following day, Twitter user @SeaShell_arts[16] tweeted a fan illustration of the two anime characters (shown below, left). Meanwhile, others commented that the new female version was still the original character, but had merely transitioned to the other gender (shown below, right). Also on June 29th, The Daily Dot[17] published an article about the new variation "There’s a woman version of the butterfly meme--and the internet loves it."


@vaderwave fool.,., she transitioned Froppy @ImFroppy Soulmates

Search Interest

External References

[1] Wikipedia – The Brave Fighter of Sun Fighbird

[2] Tumblr – Indizi dell'avvenuta catastrofe / Posted on 12-6-2011

[3] Tumblr – Indizi dell'avvenuta catastrofe Archive

[4] Know Your Meme – LOLfansubs/Failsubs / Posted on 8-8-2010

[5] Know Your Meme – Image #213,616 / Posted on 12-6-2011

[6] animeultima.tv – Funny Pics / Posted on 12-11-2011

[7] Buzzfeed – 27 Subtitles That Have Gone Awesomely Wrong / Posted on 6-27-2013

[8] TV Tropes – Memes: Tumblr

[9] Facebook – Smosh / Posted on 2-21-2014

[10] Tumblr – #is this a pigeon

[11] Tumblr – #dhmis

[12] Twitter – romiosini

[13] Twitter – @netflix

[14] The Dennison Collective, Blogspot – Hi, I'm Kara, and I inadvertently helped make a meme.

[15] Twitter – @ImFroppy

[16] Twitter – @SeaShell_arts

[17] The Daily Dot – There’s a woman version of the butterfly meme--and the internet loves it

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