Why Does Usagi Say Her Stomach is Trumpeting?

In the original run of the Sailor Moon anime, Usagi will occasionally say the hard to understand (and even harder to translate) line about her stomach playing a trumpet:

Japanese:  「おなかのラッパがプー」 (onaka no rappa ga pu~)
Literal Translation: “My stomach’s playing the trumpet”
Localization: “I’m laughing so hard, my tummy hurts!” / “My tummy’s singing!” / Etc.

On the surface of it, and depending on context, it sounds like she’s saying that her stomach’s rumbling, but as you watch through the series, you realize that she uses it more like a personal catch-phrase and not with any one, specific meaning. For example, this phrase comes out both when she’s yelling at Mamoru1 and again later when she’s on her way to lunch and can’t wait to start eating.2

Usagi and Her Trumpeting Stomach (Episode 11; 9m23s)

Usagi and Her Trumpeting Stomach (Episode 11; 9m23s)

So what is this, just another Japanese idiom that doesn’t actually translate well into English? Actually, the story behind it is more interesting than that. It turns out that it wasn’t originally part of the script and was said to be an ad lib on the part of Usagi’s voice actress, Kotono Mitsuishi, in the middle of Usagi’s tirade against Mamoru shown in the image above. But that isn’t where this catch phrase actually really originated.

Actually, this phrase first came about in the manga/anime known as Goldfish Warning!3 and was often uttered by the overly active Wapiko.

Wapiko of Goldfish Report!

Wapiko of Goldfish Warning!

After the anime ended, most of the animation staff (including director Junichi Sato and music composer Takanori Arisawa) moved over to the the Sailor Moon anime, which led to the appearance of many references to this series throughout the first season of Sailor Moon. From thereon, the phrase took on a life of its own, and has become one of the many Usagi-isms that continue to appear throughout the entire run of the anime.

Though this doesn’t really explain what your stomach trumpeting has to do with being emotional or agitated, it’s nice to know the story behind it!

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  1. 9m23s in Episode 11 of the Sailor Moon anime, first aired May 23, 1992
  2. Episode 25 of the anime, first aired on September 5, 1992
  3. 「きんぎょ注意報!」. Serialized in Nakayoshi from 1989 to 1993; Aired from January 12, 1991 to February 29, 1992.  See Goldfish Warning! (Wikipedia)

3 thoughts on “Why Does Usagi Say Her Stomach is Trumpeting?

  1. It’s also used in one of Usagi’s image songs, “Aikotoba wa Moon Prism Power, Makeup!”

  2. Going by the context of the Mamoru scene, I think it’s just like a Japanese equivalent of the English localization of my tummy hurts or something. Interchangeably, either when laughing too much or just really hungry (both metaphors).

    • We have a phrase in Russia that can be translated as “I will tear my stomach.” It is used when something makes you laugh to such an extent that it is difficult to stop.

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