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“Too Bad, It Was Just Me!”, sometimes seen as the snowclone “Too Bad! It was X-chan!” (Japanese: 残念! 〇〇ちゃんでした!, Zannen! (X)Chan Desita!) on the Japanese web, is a series of image macros featuring various anime characters originally created as a form of bait and switch trolling on Japanese imageboard sites. In 2011, the image series inspired many illustrators, spreading to 4chan and other western websites as “Zannen Sayaka-chan” or “Glasses Sayaka”.
The earliest known instance of trolling utilizing this snowclone appeared on the Japanese imageboard site Futaba Channel (2chan), in the first half of the 2000s. The phrase was initially paired with exploitable image macro series Aka-san. After a person clicked a URL expecting pornographic images, they were greeted with a photo of the grinning baby with the caption “What did you expect? It’s Me!!”.
Other well-known instances on Futaba Channel include Itachi Uchiha from Naruto, Ranka Lee from Macross Frontier and Kana Ikeda from Saki. These images were occasionally posted to Futaba Channel throughout 2009.
You expected some porn pics?
Too Bad! This is Lanka-chan"
You’re the silliest boy in the galaxy!
You expected some porn pics?
Too Bad! It was Kana-chan.
In early 2011, some people began making images in this style featuring the character Sayaka Miki from the anime series Puella Magi Madoka Magica. These images mimicked the Kana Ikeda image with the dialog “You expected some cute girl? Too bad! It was Sayaka-chan!”.
Amatuer illustrators were inspired by those response images, and began adding the line “Too Bad! It was Sayaka-chan!” into their fanart for Sayaka. Because of the huge popularity of the original anime, these illustrations of Sayaka caught much attention among many Japanese Otakus.
Around the middle of 2011, the series of those images/illustrations became to be called “Zannen Sayaka-chan” (残念さやかちゃん, lit. Too-Bad Sayaka-chan), while the images that used other characters with this style was called “Too Bad! It Was Just Me!” (残念! 私です!) as more general name.
The difference between Zannen Sayaka-chan and previous instances is that her illustrations are created as pure fanart, and the nuance of trolling is removed from them.
On The Western Web
Zannen Sayaka-chan was introduced to the western web around late 2011 by an illustration by the Japanese semi-professional illustrator Matushita Yuu, known by the nickname 咲夜さんが好き過ぎる人 (The Guy Who REALLY Loves Sakuya-san). The image was uploaded to Twitpic on October 31st 2011, which was linked to with a tweet with the text “【１８禁】お菓子欲しいが為に犯される杏子ちゃん描いた” aka “[NWS] I drew an image of Kyouko being raped by a man, begging for candies”. The image was later uploaded to his website, pixiv and Nico Nico Seiga on November 1st, 2011. The image was later translated into English, at which point it began to garner interest on the western web.
The illustrations of Sayaka wearing glasses like this gained the name “Glasses Sayaka” (めがね装備さやかちゃん, Megane Soubi Sayaka-chan), which is a popular subgenre in Zannen Sayaka-chan. Many illustrations in this series have been reuploaded to sites for hosting Japanese art pieces, such as Danbooru, which is where the initial popularity of the series in the west began.
As 4chan and other sites in the west tend to use Matsushita’s Yuu’s “Glasses Sayaka” as the template, rather than acting as fanart as the Zannen Sayaka-chan, they returned it to the bait and switch trolling style of the originals, with the addition of one liner insult’s aimed towards the viewer, making them more focused on insulting rather than the tricking of the originals.