Japanese anime fans are anxiously and enthusiastically awaiting this Friday’s re-airing of fan favorite “Castle in the Sky,” and may once again push online servers to the limit as they may simultaneously take to social networking to post the magic word from the movie, which is “balus”. The movie is a 1986 creation of famed animation house Studio Ghibli, and directed by legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki.
The heavily anticipated re-airing of the movie will happen on Friday night, on Nippon Television Network. Miyazaki is globally known for other anime films, but it is for “Castle in the Sky”, also known as Laputa in Japan – and the made-up word “balus” – that a dedicated and devoted fan base have sprung up. The word “balus” – which in the movie roughly means “destruction” – appears toward the end of the movie, where its utterance destroys the flying fortress central to the film’s storyline. There have been 13 re-airings of this movie since 1988, and devoted fans have since spoken the word at the exact same time it’s uttered in the film. In the Internet era, these fans have notably taken to unknowing and unfortunate online bulletin boards, posting all at the same time at the magic moment. This has caused a lot of servers that host anime fan sites to crash. When the movie aired in 2011, the fans transferred to Twitter and social networking sites. Twitter had asked for some “balus” restraint, but at the magic moment Japanese netizens recorded 25,088 “balus” tweets per second.
This year, Twitter seems to be more ready. “Balus” tweets are welcomed, according to the social media site’s management, as Twitter since has beefed up its servers in the past few years. “We think we will have no problems supporting that, and we are not planning to take any actions or send any messages asking users to hold off,” Twitter said. Japan’s online fans are ready as well. Japanese video sharing site Nico Nico Douga even created a special page with a simple, automated button for fans so that they don’t even need to type the word, but can just intone “balus” with one click. Miyazaki’s other works with Studio Ghibli include “My Neighbor Totoro,” where a giant fluffy creature befriends two little girls, and “Spirited Away,” where a girl gets trapped in a fantastical bath house.
[via Wall Street Journal]