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Ran Ran Ru (Japanese: らんらんるー or ランランルー) is a series of MAD video remixes based on Japanese commercials involving Ronald McDonald, also known in Japan as “Donald McDonald” (ドナルド・マクドナルド). “Ran Ran Ru” is a gimmicky expression used by Ronald, usually in combination with hand gestures to signify happiness.
Between 2004 and 2007, a series of small ads named “Ronald Rumors” (Japanese: ドナルドのうわさ – Donald no uwasa) were broadcast on Japanese television. They featured a Japanese version of Ronald McDonald asking trivial questions about himself. The answers were then posted on the official McDonald’s website. These ads were mostly targeted towards children and, in most of them, Ronald is doing his infamous “Ran Ran Ru”
The following video is one of the original Ronald Rumors commercials where Ronald uses Ran Ran Ru.
Intro: Donald’s Rumors! (Donald sneezes)
Slide: What is “Ran Ran Ru”?
Ronald: Ran Ran Ru! When Ronald gets happy I always have to do this. Come on everyone, join in! Here we go!
RAN RAN RUU!
Prior to this video remix meme, Donald himself has been already utilized in online parodies such as photo collages in Futaba Channel (2chan) or Shift-JIS arts in 2channel since early 2000s. Famous ones are a reaction image/Shift-JIS art called “You, Step Outside” (お前ら表へ出ろ) (shown below, left¢er) and a parody illustration by Masao (マサオ). The latter was incarnated in 4chan as a reaction image called What the F*ck Am I Reading? (shown below, right).
Seeing a huge potential in these short commercials, Nico Nico Douga (NND) users were the first to jump on the remixes. Some created liquidized versions of the Ran Ran Ru commercial to make the MADs either scarier or funnier. The first MAD using Ran Ran Ru was uploaded on NND on May 3rd 2007, mashing the commercial with clips from the Japanese TV series Ultraman Mebius. On December 6th 2007, another remix was uploaded on NND mashing up Ran Ran Ru with the song U.N. Owen Was Her? from the popular game series Touhou Project. However, the most infamous MAD that exposed Ran Ran Ru and popularized U.N. Owen Was Her in western audiences was uploaded to NND on January 1st, 2008. The video was reuploaded to YouTube the same day by YouTube user mrhorseshoe, which has accumulated over 5 million views:
Ran Ran Ru is one of three fads that exploded around the same time, including Werther’s Original and Nerunerunerune, and have been called “The Three Major Religions on NND” (ニコニコ三大宗教, NicoNico Sandai Syūkyō). Since 2008, many thousands of videos related to the crown and his catchphrase have been posted to NND.
Outside of Japan
The irrational fear towards clowns often developed by people contributed to the popularity of this meme gained outside of Japan. In a March 11, 2010 an article on the Australian site PC World listed Ronald McDonald Insanity as one of the most disturbing YouTube videos of all time.
Therefore, many people outside of Japan started uploading duplicate copies of related videos to YouTube. “Ronald McDonald Insanity” and sometimes other related videos would often be used mostly by U.S. Internet users as a bait and switch similar to the practice of Rickrolling and would be dubbed the “McRoll’d”.
Left: Native Faith | Right: Marisa Stole the Precious Thing
Left: Night of Nights | Right: Deaf to All but the Song
Ronald was introduced as a playable character in the customizing freeware fighting game engine M.U.G.E.N on December 17th 2007 by a Japanese M.U.G.E.N contributor kishio. Some of Ronald’s voice samples are borrowed directly from the commercials, while his sprites were borrowed and modified from Dio Brando’s sprites in Capcom’s JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure fighting game for the Sony PlayStation.
Left: Donald vs. Mario | Right: Donald & Kamen Rider vs. Nobita & Miyoco
(Each of them is a reprint of a million-viewed video.)
A Ran Ran Ru MAD showing Ronald syncing to the BGM heard at the first part of the final boss character Giygas from the SNES game EarthBound, was recently made to contribute to the Ran Ran Ru meme. The MAD was originally uploaded on NND (shown below, left), but when this Ronald “counterpart” appeared on the Western web, several native English speakers (especially the ones in North America) referred to it as “McGiygas” (shown below, right).
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