April Fools' Day joke ruffles some feathers

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April Fools' Day is meant for pranks, but one prank posting to various fansub mailing lists had some worrying about if the news it presented was for real.

While other April Fools' Day pranks focussed on the surreal (i.e. adding Totoro to the Japanese flag), this one used recent events surrounding Ruroni Kenshin as the basis for a true fan nightmare. Ryuta Shiiki of Sony Visual Works SPE was quoted by ANN as saying that a well-known North American anime distributor was close to picking up the distribution rights to the series, but did not say who. (Current rumors seem to point to Central Park Media.)

This prank used the scenario that the company in question was ADV Films, and that they were planning to accept Sony's rename of the series to "Samurai X", add new footage (that included the principle female character removing her top) and rename characters (Sanosuke the gangster would be renamed "G" and the symbol on his back would be translated to "bad-ass") as well as Kenshin's moves.

The fake press release was posted to various fansub mailing lists, already uneasy about Sony's earlier demands to cease the circulation of Ruroni Kenshin materials, and some individuals worried about the potential validity of the post. (If there was any doubt, the press release mentioned notoriously sloppy fansubber Hecto and sung their praises.)

"I certainly hope this is a joke... [but] it wouldn't surprise me one bit," one particular cynic posted in response.

ANN did not bother attempting to reach ADV Films for comment.

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