【UPDATE 2022/06/07 13:55 JST】
This is an update from the AUTOMATON editorial department. This article was originally published on May 25, with the English translation you see here published on May 26. Due to the inappropriate content in the article, we have decided to strikethrough the text and want to provide some context behind why we are doing so.
It has come to our attention that the meme and video discussed in this article contain homophobic content. This sort of content should not be posted while overlooking or failing to critically examine that fact. For that reason, we want to apologize to our readers and anyone who may have been hurt by it.
In addition, we have updated the author’s name to AUTOMATON Editorial Department (AUTOMATON WEST) as it falls on us to be aware and properly screen what is posted to the website.
At AUTOMATON, we strive to deliver articles not found on other media websites, including writing about internet culture, which is what drew our attention to “Oto-Wak” when it was gaining attention in Japan.
We then requested a writer to cover the topic and checked the content before uploading. As mentioned earlier, we failed to take notice of the meme’s homophobic undertones and spread such content to the distress of our readers. We are sorry.
How we’re going to address the matter:
1) Strikethrough the entirety of the article while keeping it online as a reminder of our mistake.
2) As the responsibility falls entirely on the editorial department, we have changed the author name to AUTOMATON Editorial Department (AUTOMATON WEST).
3) To help prevent something like this from happening again, our editorial team will be re-examining how we handle content related to internet culture and implementing preventative measures.
We want to thank everyone who shared their opinions and pointed out the issue with this article and once again apologize for any harm it may have caused.
AUTOMATON Editor-in-chief Ayuo Kawase
AUTOMATON WEST (English version) Editor-in-chief Ryuki Ishii
[Original Text 2022/05/26 14:07 JST] Wakka from Final Fantasy X has suddenly resurfaced as a meme in Japan. The origins of the new meme sensation trace back to a fan-made video posted online, with the lines Wakka said in the video spreading on social media.
What kind of character is Wakka? Wakka is one of the party members in Final Fantasy X. He rescues the game’s protagonist Tidus when he washes up on Besaid Island and accompanies Yuna as one of her guardians on her pilgrimage to become a High Summoner. Wakka has a muscular appearance with a long quiff hairstyle to go along with his signature blue headband, giving him a very distinct appearance. He’s the captain of a Blitzball team, a popular sport in the game, and has a friendly, older-brother type of vibe to him. He is also a devout follower of Yevon, a religion that has spread across the game’s world of Spira, and is quick to get angry when it comes to machinery and the Al Bhed that go against those teachings. The two sides to his personality and his distinct look have made him a popular character, with fanart and videos being made about him even over 20 years after the game’s release.
The Oto Wakka YouTube Poop The origin of Wakka’s sudden meme status goes back to a fan-made video called “Oto-Wak,” which is a collaboration video made by multiple diehard Wakka fans. The video’s genre is known in Japan as “Oto MAD.” Think a YouTube Poop set to music with audio and visuals from the game edited in. The video contains popular jokes and content from the community on the Japanese video streaming website Niconico carefully edited together into an extremely well-crafted video. It also incorporates content players that have pushed through Final Fantasy X will be familiar with, such as dodging lightning in Thunder Plains. The video was posted on May 7, and as of this writing, has over 900,000 views on Niconico and over 380,000 views on YouTube.
Becoming a Twitter meme “Oto-Wak” also became popular on Twitter. The video takes lines Wakka says in the game and rearranges them into new ones which became material for the Wakka memes. These altered lines existed before the “Oto-Wak” video was released but reemerged because of it. One example is the line “Tidus’ combo feels too good!” from advertisements used in Japan to promote Dissidia Final Fantasy NT and changes the word “combo” to “chinpo,” the Japanese word for penis. Another famously used rearranged line originates from Final Fantasy X-2 where Yuna tells Wakka he isn’t the one that’s giving birth and changes it to, “Wakka’s giving birth!” Social media was overflowing with these edited and reorganized lines being posted like how Wakka would say them. Tons of users were using the lines to talk about current affairs, make collages, and to crack jokes. The Wakka boom also had the unexpected effect of getting players that haven’t played Final Fantasy X interested in the game. It’s exciting to see how these Wakka memes and “Oto-Wak” have put the character and Final Fantasy X back in the spotlight once again, even if the video left many fans bewildered and confused.