The Sensei Next Door: Lingo

I made the utterly insane decision to catch up on Hunter x Hunter before the final episode airs in a few weeks (you can follow my 50-episode odyssey on Twitter), and it’s been making me think of this term a whole lot. So I figured I’d spend some time explaining it, and why I actually think it’s kind of great:

adj (slang).
Ridiculous levels of badassitude.

verb (slang).
To love a character because of their ridiculous levels of badassitude.

“GAR” is one of those accidental Internet slang things, sort of like “teh.” The story goes that a commenter was discussing an episode of the Fate/stay night anime and the absurdly macho character Archer. The commenter meant to say he was “gay for Archer” but one typo later and he was instead “gar for Archer.”

Somehow the term took off, although almost exclusively in the anime community (I didn’t even know about it until it cropped up in Enzo’s Lost in America blog), and eventually evolved into an adjective used on someone or something that’s unbelievably tough, persistent, and all-around badass (“Roy Mustang was so GAR when he fought Lust, you guys”). It doesn’t have to be a good thing, mind you – GAR can be excessive and exhausting, and you can use the word in a negative sense – but most of the time it has positive, fist-pumping, “hellz yeah!” connotations to it.

I’m actually really fond of this term, partly because it’s practically an onomatopoeia (if you saw “GAR!” as an SFX in a comic, you’d totally know what it meant), and partly because it encompasses all these notions of traditional masculinity/manliness while still being sex- and gender-neutral. Anyone can be GAR. And that’s awesome.

So go forth, ladies and gents, and remember: When the chips are down, you’re covered in wounds, and your buddies are bleeding out all around you, just grit your teeth, clench your fist, and give the world your best GAR battle cry. Somewhere, someone will swoon over it.

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