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Kill Casshern! Devour Casshern!, also known simply as Kill Casshern!, is a common phrase used in the anime Casshen Sins. It is the deranged mantra spoken by bandit robots who are attempting to assassinate Casshern en masse in hopes of eating his body components to assimilate their regenerative powers into their own decaying bodies to avoid ruination. The phrase became popular when the series initially premiered in 2008 and then re-aired on the newly-launched Toonami block on Cartoon Network’s [adultswim], which caused it to rise from obscurity and rapidly spread to 4chan on two separate ocassions. The mantra has been exaggerated due to its narm charm, and has now become blown out of proportion to the point it can be associated with a captioned picture of an iconic robot spouting these bloodthirsty words to indicate any given robotic lifeform in the world or psychopath wants to kill Casshern.
Casshern Sins is a dystopic anime and relaunch of a classic anime series called Casshan. The series premiered in Japan on October 1st, 2008, and debuted in english-dubbed format on FUNimation Channel on December 21, 2010. It is about the titular robot named Casshern who has suddenly awoke from a century-long slumber to find the entire planet of Earth is rotting apart in all forms- humanity, robotkind, and the environment itself are dying out.
Unfortunately, Casshern has no memories of his past, leaving him unwillingly naive to a dark truth- he himself is responsible for this phantasmagorical fate on the world. Long ago, he slew Luna, a female robot known as “The Sun Named Moon.” Shortly after her apparent demise, iron oxide flooded the atmosphere and served as a catalyst that has caused nearly all robots in the world to rust and corrode at a frightening pace until they crumble into dust and cease to function- a plague they refer to as “The Ruin.” Humanity has fared just as worse, facing difficulty trying to reproduce or stay out the clutches of merciless killing machines who would drive them to extinction.
Begrudged and angered at Casshern’s actions, many robots have turned fierce and murderous, slaughtering anything that so much as looks at them wrong, or cannibalizing parts to replace their own dilapidated machinery. Somehow, during this dark time when robots began to lose hope, a rumor came to fruition- Casshern is incapable of ruin. If one were to eat him, his perfect body would fuse with the one who ate his parts and they would never ruin again. Soon after this rumor came to life, it exploded among the desperate and nigh-insane bandits who were hellbent on survival. And thus, whenever the mythical Casshern was in their sights and proven to be the real deal, they began to chant, “KILL CASSHERN! DEVOUR CASSHERN!” to rally all their cohorts to strike down and engorge their one last chance to stay alive. Meanwhile, Casshern struggles to outlast the countless robots pouring in to kill him, and hopefully, stop the ruin and redeem himself before Earth becomes totally lifeless.
When the first episode premiered of the series, the infamous mantra was spoken a few minutes into the airing. The phrase can be heard around the 3:10 mark in the following video:
Although it seemed like a temporary phrase that wouldn’t stick around for very long in the series, it became a recurring chant used by large crowds of robot bandits to rile up everyone to kill and devour Casshern in several more episodes following the first. The thematic element became quite popular on message boards, most notably 4chan.
One of the earliest known instances of the meme can be found on 4chan’s veteran board /a/ – Animu & Mango back in October 2008, when the series was fairly new at the time. One anonymous blogger posted a picture of Dorothy from The Big O captioned, “KILL CASSHERN”, and sparked a hefty chain of comments involving posts with robotic or psychotic characters who also wanted to kill Casshern. A few posts also stated the original, untranslated Japanese phrase of the mantra, “KYASSHAN WO KOROSE”.
After Casshern Sins ended, the popularity of this phrase declined and vanished from boards until Toonami aired the FUNimation dub of the series. It was a lesser-known series to most devotees of anime, having aired on a less-recognized channel. However, the anime was brought back into the spotlight when the Toonami block returned on May 26, 2012, which exposed it to a fresh and denser audience on Cartoon Network, a more mainstream channel, and since Toonami’s return brought in an enormous surge of viewers to [adultswin]. Casshern Sins was billed as one of its new additions for programming alongside Deadman Wonderland to avoid airing purely reruns.
As soon as the first episode aired and the line “Kill Casshern” came up, it triggered a repeat performance of the meme, soon afterward popping up in the [adultswim] forums and Toonami-related posts on Tumblr.
The phrase is usually paired alongside a well-recognized robotic or machine-like character that viewers can quickly identify, but the meme can also be captioned to a mentally unstable person instead of a robot. The character will often express intent to Kill Casshern while appearing in a threatening pose, or the line will compliment their own trademark quirks. Occasionally, a reference to berserk or killer household appliances with electronic controls pops up, including the Doomba meme.
Alongside the popular mantra, fandom and image boards soon started to recognize the name “Casshern” was easy to confuse with the word “cashew”, and a trend arose to wrongfully caption images to cashews or post cashew-related pictures in mockery of it.
Search interest initially shot up in October 2008 when Casshern Sins first aired, then tapered off when the show disappeared from watchful eyes. However, its time on the Toonami block has caused a slight increase in popularity once more.
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