That was fun

by Christopher Macdonald,
Well, yesterday certainly was a fun and interesting day. Anime News Network has a tradition of April Fools jokes. Ever since our first year running the website we have delighted in posting unbelievable stories this one day of the year, and this year was no exception.

Our first story, the Oscar Scandal: Spirited Away Loses! item, was also the one we made the biggest mistake with. Normally, the goal of an April Fools joke is to fool people. However, due to our status as an otherwise serious news site, we absolutely did not want to misinform people, not on this or any other day of the year. Unfortunately, while far fetched, this one item was in fact believable. Believable enough - in fact - that towards the end of the day we actually received a serious e-mail from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences informing us that the story was false. After a short phone discussion with them, we agreed to post a short disclaimer at the end of the article. I'm happy to note that there was no ill will between them and us; they were in fact somewhat amused.

As the day progressed, we posted 6 more fake news articles, and one very amusing review. The articles were Dance Dance Resurrection Anime Announced, ANN Exclusive: TOKYOPOP to Buy All Japanese Manga, Kodomo no Omocha Licensed; Hikaru no Go, Too?, Godzilla Assisting U.S. Army in Nuclear Arms Search, Astroboy Signs Up!, Heero Yui and Duo Maxwell Not Gay! and ADV Films buys Manga International.

We had a lot of fun writing these articles and for the most part, it seems that you had fun reading them. Of course there were a few people who didn't appreciate them, but from the e-mails and forum discussions on ANN and elsewhere, it seems that most people were quite amused.

But despite our best intent to write unbelievable stories, some people were still fooled by a few of them. We received serious enquiries regarding the TOKYOPOP, ADV and DDR items and one e-mail from a very annoyed Heero Yui fan.

My personal favorites were the ANN Pro story, Mikes's absolutely hilarious Scooby Doo review, and the ADV story, which was actually sent in by Dan Miliken, one of our readers.

Unlike our stories, Dan's ADV press release was quite easy to believe... it even fooled some of our staff. You'd only realize that it was a joke if you were aware of the fact that Manga International is one of the world's largest bootleggers of Anime... I don't think ADV's plans towards MI have anything to do with buying them. I felt that it was okay to post this one, despite how real it looked, because it was towards the end of the day and that even if believed, it would cause no harm.

In the end, it was a very fun day, and a success. While I am unrepentant, I would still like to apologize to those amongst you who do not appreciate the silliness. I'm not sorry for doing it, but I do regret that it bothers you. Please look forward to 365 days of seriousness ahead of us (2004 is a leap year).

Speaking of next year... I already know exactly what the joke will be, I hope you look forward to it.


Christopher Macdonald
Anime News Network

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