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Impossibru is a reaction image based on a stillshot of an asian man wearing a bizarre expression and the caption reading “impossibru,” which is typically interpreted as the Engrish equivalent of the word “impossible” (Japanese: インポシブル imposhiburu). Both the image and the phrase has been used to express one’s surprise or exclamation across various forums and imageboard sites, and is notable as being similar to Rape Face.
The man shown in the original photograph is a Japanese comedian named Ayumu Kato, who became one of many celebrity victims in the popular hidden-camera prank show Panic Face King. In the episode, Kato is introduced to a group of businessmen (played by hired actors) under the premise of a business meeting. But as they begin their conversation, the three businessmen suddenly get shot down in front of him and a man wearing body armor enters the room to fire at the “snipers” outside. Kato falls to the floor in panic and moments later, another man enters the room with a gun, puts it to his head and informs him that he’d been punked by the TV show.
The clip was uploaded by YouTuber clicktoriscom on January 29th, 2010.
Since its rise in early 2010, the “impossibru” image has been featured on various humor blogs, imageboards and forums, including FunnyJunk, Cheezburger, FAILblog and 4chan among others. There are also Facebook groups dedicated to the “Impossibru” man.
A clip of the show was shown on the British panel show Have I Got News For You:
The Impossibru! face is primarily used as a reaction image, either to express a sense of disbelief, fear and rage or one’s genuine surprise. Due to its highly exploitable nature, the image has been also photoshopped and mashed-up with other reaction memes. Other times, the word Impossibru is placed in the photograph of a person making an asian face, or a regular photo is altered so the person in it looks asian.