Truck-kun is an Internet meme concerning the isekai genre of anime and manga, in which characters are transported to other worlds. As many of the protagonists are sent to these worlds via reincarnation after death, several of the characters are transported by being killed when they are hit by a truck. After several isekai works used this method of killing their characters, a meme spread claiming "Truck-kun"[a] was a character appearing in several manga whose job it is to kill people in their original world and to send them to a new one.
Early examples of discussion of the trope include a Reddit thread entitled "Trucks in Manga – RE: Marina" by user poloport from April 14, 2015. In the post, a page from the manga RE: Marina shows the central character Rinosuke being hit by a truck. The character is not killed, but the incident brings the main characters in the story together. This post resulted in further posts in which people pointed out examples of trucks running into the protagonists of manga, with isekai manga featuring heavily.
In 2017, an anime fan compiled a list of causes of death among isekai protagonists, which was updated in 2018. Deaths caused by "Traffic accident by truck" came third in the study with 37 cases, with general traffic accidents coming second with 38 cases, and unknown causes first with 102 cases.
Critics have since recorded the appearance of "Truck-kun" in multiple series. These include Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!, Mushoku Tensei, The Eminence in Shadow, Zombie Land Saga and Wise Man's Grandchild. There are also alternative versions of the plot device, such as in KonoSuba, where lead character Kazuma Satō dies from shock after rescuing someone from being run over by what he thinks is a truck, but is later discovered to be a slow-moving tractor that posed no danger to the person he was attempting to save.
Since the creation of the meme, people have retrospectively examined earlier series to see other uses of motor accidents in anime and manga. Examples include Osamu Tezuka's sci-fi manga Astro Boy, in which Tobio Tenma is killed in a car accident at the beginning of the story, resulting in his father creating the robot Astro Boy in his image.
Media related to Truck-kun at Wikimedia Commons