Dona Dona in manga and anime

One thing that I’ve always found a little odd the few times I’ve run across it is the occasional reference in manga and anime to the Jewish folk song “Dona Dona.” It generally is used as a shorthand way of referencing certain doom or despair for a particular character. I guess it is because this song that I’ve generally understood as a Holocaust metaphor (based on what I was told in Sunday School) is inexplicably popular in Japanese Elementary schools?

Here are a few references I’ve found, but I’m sure that there are plenty out there that I’ve forgotten or haven’t encountered yet. If you have any more please send them in and I’ll add them to the page. Thanks to ace Dona Dona spotter David Wolkin!

One of the longest and most overt references ever takes place in in Revolutionary Girl Utena, there’s a version of the song used when Nanami transforms into a cow (song kicks in at the end of the clip):

Here’s a panel from Detroit Metal City Volume 7:

And Slam Dunk Volume 1:

Do you have any Dona Dona references to share? Please let me know!

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  1. […] for years. I dipped into it briefly when I was searching for manga scenes where people reference the song Dona Dona, but I didn’t go on to read the whole volume. I had a variety of ill-conceived concerns that […]

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