An anime clip viewed as harmless in Japan is interpreted differently by foreign viewers.

McDonald’s Japan has around six million followers on its official Twitter account so it’s not unusual for posts on the feed to attract a large number of views. However, one of its most recent posts has surpassed all expectations, attracting over 133 million views in less than a week.

The reaction to the video hasn’t been entirely positive, though, with a large number of foreign viewers taking offence at the post, sending it viral for all the wrong reasons. While it contains a seemingly innocent short anime clip to advertise the chain’s fries and nuggets deal, available on the menu from 5 in the evening, some viewers have chosen to read the scene differently.

▼ Take a look at the ad, which comes with the message “Happy times aren’t out of the ordinary”, below.

On the surface, the clip shows three people sitting around a table in the kitchen, with McDonald’s takeout bags on the tabletop and a box of nuggets and sauce laid out in front of them. The person on the left picks up a nugget and eats it while the person on the right feeds a French fry to the child in between them. Apparently overjoyed by the taste of the fry, the child nods their head and swings from side to side in delight, bringing a smile to everyone’s faces.

Once the clip was picked up by foreign viewers, though, some of them weren’t smiling, instead criticising what they saw to be a white nuclear family unit.

“Looks like Japan isn’t in favour of commercials with interracial, childless or lgtbq [sic] couples. Who would’ve thought.”
“Thank you for making me depressed McDonald’s Japan. What would I do without you?”
“That anime McDonald’s ad is my greatest nightmare.”
“I love my mcbreeding ads.”
“It’s creepy how the mom has the exact same proportions as the child. Like literally down to the hands.”
“Theory: McDonald’s is now trying to appeal to pedophiles?”

As the naysayers came out to criticise the ad, so too did anime supporters, who saw nothing wrong with the clip.

For people living in the other world, this is called family and they are enjoying a normal meal together.”
“So apparently people find this offensive for some reason? I just find it cute.”
“Why tf are so many people losing their minds over this commercial? It’s an anime family eating it’s not like it’s Redo of Healer so what’s the issue?”
“The people who make a fuss after seeing this commercial are probably very dissatisfied with their lives.”

However, another faction of viewers saw something different in the ad altogether, pointing out the likeness between the character on the left and a well-known character from the manga world, Chihiro from Kagura Bachi. The McDonald’s ad was released just as memes overhyping Kagura Bachi as the best thing of all time were flooding social media, so it didn’t take long for people to notice the likeness.

McDonald’s Japan made no comment about the controversy or the likeness between characters, instead releasing a new ad from the same anime artist a few days later.

▼ Less controversy, less views, with 21.7 million as of this writing.

It’s been whirlwind series of events for McDonald’s Japan this week, and one commenter summed it up by saying:

It just goes to show that Japanese ads translate differently for audiences overseas, where there’s an entirely different world of marketing. While it’s perfectly fine to sell Asian Juicy burgers and Adult Cream Pies at McDonald’s in Japan, those exclusive menu items just wouldn’t fly overseas.

Sources:, Hachima Kikou (1, 2, 3), Jin
Featured image: Twitter/McDonald’s Japan

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