In recent years, April Fools’ Day has gone from a day of lies and pranks (lame) to a day of entertaining but obvious gags (awesome). Comic artists switch strips, companies “rebrand,” and Google could be doing just about anything. But when it comes to elaborate jokes, anime and game producers go the extra mile.
This year’s line-up is a winner, including stunts like Altria Pendragon appearing in Thunderbolt Fantasy. There have been plenty more, but until we’ve collected them all up, we’re looking at some past winners. One of these has even gone on to become a reality!
The Godzilla Smartphone
Shin Godzilla stormed into theaters in 2016, and this April Fools’ Day gag sought to ride that popularity the following year. Fans were “offered” a Godzilla smartphone, modeled after the big lizard’s second form in the film. With 55 core processing and a 550 million pixel camera, this larger than life item already sounds too good to be true. And, of course, it was.
The down side? Running a phone of this magnitude would leak radiation. Also, the promised 55G connection only worked in Tokyo’s Haneda/Kamata area. Which, according to the film, ‘zilla smashed.
Marulk Steals Made in Abyss
In 2019, Made in Abyss fans were eagerly awaiting the film sequel Dawn of the Deep Soul the following January. But an April Fools’ joke claimed that the upcoming movie would be replaced with Marulk’s Everyday: a slice-of-life story about Ozen’s young apprentice.
While the studio was quick to reassure fans, even on the day, that Marulk’s Everyday was a joke, it did live on in some form. It ended up becoming a series of four shorts, one of which was screened every week prior to Dawn of the Deep Soul in cinemas. So fans got to have their cake and eat it, too.
TEKKEN Director in TEKKEN 7
At this point, anyone and anything is fair game for a a video game cameo. So hearing that TEKKEN director Katsuhiro Harada would become a playable character in TEKKEN 7 didn’t automatically seem like an April Fools’ joke. After all, you can fight the Square Enix and Platinum CEOs in NieR:Automata. This just seems par for the course.
Sadly, Harada’s promise to throw in on the Mishima feud was nothing more than a gag for the day. Then again, alongside this was a video claiming that the next Yakuza game would be a turn-based JRPG… so perhaps it’s fair to hold out hope, after all.
What are your favorite anime April Fools’ jokes this year?