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Are your kids playing too many violent video games? What are the side effects of these games? What will happen to my child? These types of questions were all around Germany. The hysteria surrounding video games prompted this one boy, supposedly named Leopold to make a video making fun of what people thought was going to happen. This is the result, posted April 12, 2006.
When English speakers saw the video they saw the following things.
- A kid.
- An angry kid.
- An angry kid playing video games.
Becoming the target of a German TV news network
A German news network (Called Focus TV) got the rights to this clip and made up a backstory. The backstory goes a little like this: a father secretly recording his angry, ADHD son playing his favourite violent video game.
You can find a translated version of an article about it posted in November 2006 here. In it, there is a comparison made between him and a school shooting that took place in Emsdetten at that time.
“Journalists” from Focus TV (Germany) used this as an example of an internet addict, claiming the kid to have been secretly taped by his father and to be undergoing therapy in addiction clinic. Naturally, this was not what “Leopold” understood to have agreed on when he gave approval for airing it on TV.
By 2009, Focus Online, the Internet version of Focus, posted a video where the Angry German Kid made an appearance among other media. Here, he is presented as one of the most successful Youtube videos posted in German.
Then someone would say he’s speaking German and no one would be surprised. Because he was yelling a foreign language, it looked awfully legit. It turned out it was staged, which became apparent when you see his other videos where he is calling himself a “gangster”.
Actually, according to this AGK takes a lot of flak because of his videos. He says he gets beaten up and made fun of.
Moreover, Leopold as written a note on his blog clearly explaining that it was a staged impression (translated):
“I am not sick or mad, I only have a sense of humor not everyone immediately understands. In addition, I have acting talent. I can do something so real that many think it is real. For this reason I will be insulted by many and hated. The aim of my videos or movies is to entertain people, not provoke. Nobody should take my short videos on the Internet seriously – they are merely for entertainment. No matter what people think or say, I am a very normal boy with acting talent.”
- N. K. (aka “Slikk” or “Der echte Gangster”)
Staged or not, the initial video had a gigantic impact on the web. This was first materialized by many attempts at translating what this kid must be saying to English.
This first attempt was posted on Youtube the 5th of August 2006:
It’s basically describing the Angry German Kid checking his e-mail, with some soundtracks added.
More than an accurate translation, it’s a video that launched a new way of making fun of that kid, by creating fake subtitles and inducing any token situation.
Jumping on it, another video followed the trend, presenting the Angry German Kid looking at the Numa Numa Guy and Star Wars kid videos, and was posted the 9th of August 2006:
Many parodies has then ensued, mainly using homemade subs as a key element. In a manner similar to The Downfall parodies. Because people are facing a foreign language difficult to understand, adding fake subtitles typically transcripting nearly every situation provided a great source of appeal and parodies (non-exhaustive list below):
AGK meets GLaDOS
He’s going to jail
Going to church
Getting a girlfriend
Here’s a constipation joke
He meets Hannah Montana
Playing Guitar hero
He sees himself on Youtube.
Even if the subtitled trend was the most important part of this meme, some reenactments can be seen as well:
And, to finally have a glimpse at what Leopold is really saying in his original video, it has been assumed that one of most accurate translations made about it seems to be the following video, where he is trying to play Unreal Tournament on his computer:
Nico Nico Douga’s draw: Keyboard Crasher
On March 6th 2007, the Unreal Tournament translation was posted on Nico Nico Douga. As a result, he was first nicknamed “Unreal Gamer” there, name that was going to fade away pretty quickly and being replaced by its most famous version on the Japanese Web, Keyboard Crasher (キーボードクラッシャー), having even his own Japanese wikipedia article.
His videos were going to lead to more than 2 100 Nico Nico Douga alterations related to it.
One of the key components of the Japanese version of the meme is a phonetic translation of Leopold’s shouts, which were reused in MADs. Notable phonetic translations are “Tapioka Pan ( Tapioca bread )”, “Tennō heika Banzai! ( Glory be to His Majesty the Emperor! )” and “Manko! ( Pussy! )”.
Here are some Youtube examples of that phenomenon:
Aside from these peculiar videos, Keyboard Crasher was used in many other MAds as well: