In Japan, seats on highway buses and Shinkansen bullet trains are adjustable so you can recline them, which makes your journey more comfortable. As a courtesy, it's considered good manners to ask permission from the passenger behind you when doing so.

Here's a hand-drawn animated short created by テコまる Tecomaru (@tecomaIupepepe) on the theme of reclining a highway bus seat.

The animation begins simply enough. A man riding a highway bus turns around to ask the passenger behind him if he may recline his seat.

In Japanese, the transitive verb phrase "to recline a seat" is イスを倒す isu wo taosu, so in this context, people would normally interpret his question this way:

sumimasen, isu wo taoshite mo ii desu ka
Excuse me, may I recline the seat?

But when he gets permission from the passenger sitting behind him, it becomes clear that he was using another meaning of the verb 倒す taosu, which is "to defeat." He says:

jaa isu, taoshimasu
In that case, I will defeat the chair

The man and the chair engage in an epic battle reminiscent of a certain famous fighting video game.

Since the chair isn't a living thing by nature, it would seem that the man has an overwhelming advantage.

But this chair was a formidable foe, defending itself and even strangling the contender with its seatbelt!

The fight comes to a sudden conclusion when the conductor intervenes, showing some impressive moves of his own. In the "defeat screen" at the end of the animated short, he tells the would-be "seat fighter":

shanai de abaren'na boke
Don't go berserk in the bus, you imbecile

Tekomaru's hilarious animated short made many people smile, eliciting comments such as:

  • I could see what was coming up to the part when he asked if he could "recline" the seat but I didn't have enough imagination to figure out what happened next!
  • "I thought he was going to push down the seat, but he's the one who got pushed down in the end! I couldn't help but laugh at that."
  • "My sides hurt! The conductor was the strongest one of them all!"

Combat in many fighting games takes place in arenas but it might be interesting to use a familiar place like a highway bus for a change. Some of those who saw the animated short may now wish such a game existed...

By - grape Japan editorial staff.