Anime fans love a good meme. Look at JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. But usually, it’s the memes that spring organically from the fandom that have the longest lifespan. Take “Nice Boat,” the odd anniversary that rolls around every September 19. Most anime fans know the story by now… but just in case you’re new to the party, here’s the run-down on the strange observance.
The Bloody Ending
Like other dating-based games, 0verflow’s visual novel School Days has a plethora of potential endings. Unlike others in its field, though, School Days has some especially graphic conclusions tucked away in its many possible finales. One of these made its way to the anime, leaving a trail of bodies and a rather disturbing last shot before the credits. (Said shot, funnily enough, includes a nice boat… but more on that in a moment.)
However, a grisly murder took place the day before the final episode of School Days was set to air. A Kyoto teenager murdered her father with an axe, and elements of the case were similar to elements in the finale. For that reason, TV Kanagawa opted instead to show half an hour of Norwegian scenery, set to “Air on a G String.”
This on its own is the stuff of memes: you’ve likely seen parodies of moments like these used to imply disturbing offscreen imagery. But one in particular — an image of a ferry — prompted a 4channer to comment: “Nice boat.” And, of course, the Internet latched on.
The “nice boat” made its way around the Internet as a tribute to the bizarre broadcasting moment, often with full recreations of the footage. Fortunately, 0verflow responded in the best way possible: by playing along.
More than a Decade Later
The “nice boat” meme took off, and has held strong under the surface with resurgences on September 19. The creators of School Days recognized good material when they saw it, and worked said Nice Boat into their marketing at a Comiket booth some years ago. Shoppers could take home dedicated “Nice Boat” merch, including a shopping bag, for their troubles.
Years later, School Days remains a cult hit… though how much of that is from the fandom and how much is from the bizarre meme, we’ll never know. Why not share a picture of a nice boat with a friend today?