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I've been watching anime for a long time and I still don't understand what it means when a wash pan falls from the sky onto a character's head. I've seen it recently in Rosario+Vampire when the witch summons a wash pan over another character's head.

What does it mean or represent?

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    relevant tvtropes article. WARNING: Do not follow the links over there. HIGHLY ADDICTIVE!
    – Vogel612
    Commented Jan 14, 2015 at 16:12

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I imagine this is somehow related to the common schoolprank of placing basins/buckets of water on top of door frames and waiting for people to come in and get soaked

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As is mentioned in @Vogel612's link, it's sortof the Eastern equivilant of an anvil being dropped on someone's head. A bit more realistic perhaps though.

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