Meme Alert: Scream until it hurts

Every year, events like FanExpo and Anime North aim to gather thousands of anime fans across all ages to share their common interests by attending panels, lining up for celebrity autograph sessions, and paying homage to their favourite characters by dressing up in costumes. As a result, many fans end up spending tons of money on tickets and merchandise.

But what about fans who want to show their appreciation without spending hard cash? In a new Internet trend, students around the world are paying homage to their favourite shows and characters by gathering in large public spaces and participating in activities such as running like Naruto or screaming like Goku.

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Even if you’re not a Naruto fan, you might have seen this viral Wikihow article on how to “Run like Naruto.” The character, a kid ninja, is known for running with his head forward, arms back, and with his mouth wide open. In reality, this method of running seems ridiculous and hilarious, which is exactly what makes it so fun to imitate. And so, a meme is born.

The famous Naruto run

The famous Naruto run

This event, held in New York’s Central Park, originally began as a joke. Once the organizer saw the number of people interested (nearly 4000), they decided to make it a reality. Another event, titled “Scream Like Goku In Front of Washington Square Arch” involved fans imitating the Dragon Ball Z protagonist as he powers up, or goes “super saiyan.”

Our version of going super saiyan is having 3 coffees in a day.

Our version of going super saiyan is having 3 coffees in a day.

The meme is spreading across cities and is particular popular on university and college campuses. On September 12, students at York University participated in a Naruto run. The week before, Toronto’s CN Tower served as a meeting place for fans to scream like Goku. The event page listed the start time as 4 PM and fans ended up staying well after the sun went down. One of the organizers behind the CN Tower event, Alex To, also said that the page began as a joke, and that he only shared it with close friends. Soon after, the page reached 1000 attendees and over 4000 people interested. I attended the event around 6 PM and shared some highlights to my Snapchat story.

Go super saiyan

So far, most of these events popping up seem to be completely organic, created by anime lovers to meet other fans in their area and share the experience of acting like their favourite characters. Plus, all that screaming must help blow off some steam!

We wouldn’t be surprised to see official large-scale events hosted by brands and conventions in the future.

Angie Liu