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Kishimen (Japanese: きしめん) is a misheard lyric taken from the chorus of “True My Heart,” the opening theme of the adult visual novel Nursery Rhyme (- ナーサリィ☆ライム-). The phrase has since became a nickname for the opening credits of the eroge game, after a series of remix parodies of the opening were created during the early days of Nico Nico Douga (NND), often categorized as one of the oldest fads on the Japanese video sharing site.
The visual novel Nursery Rhyme was created by the developer company Lump of Sugar, and released in Japan on November 25th, 2005. Its theme song “True My Heart” was originally arranged by the Japanese group ave;new and was sung by Saori Sakura.
The opening was originally uploaded to NND in February 2007, during the site’s beta release and hadn’t been denied access from YouTube, and its misheard phrase was already garnering attention with early adopters of NND at that time. It’s notoriety was given because during the end of the song’s opening chorus, the Japanese word “dakishime” (Eng: embrace, to hold) can be heard as da “Kishimen,” which is one of the varieties of Udon, a type of Japanese noodles.
素直な心抱きしめ (Sunao na Kokoro Dakishime) → with holding a supple mind
素直な心だ きしめん (Sunao na Kokoroda. Kisimen) → Kisimen is a supple mind.
As the song was reaching popularity, with NND users began spamming “Kishimen” in the video of the song, MAD videos based on the opening began to emerge. Among them, a video utilizing footage from the Japanese animated series Code Geass was one of the first big hit in this series, which was first uploaded to NND in February 17th, 2007. The video would eventually be reuploaded to NND several times, with them being watched over 500,000 times in total, but almost all were deleted due to copyright claims.
With the popularity of those MAD videos, “Kishimen” became a notable subject of parody during early stages of NND. Over 2,000 videos have been posted to NND, most following MAD style videos, and many have been reprinted to YouTube. “Kishimen” is also often considered as one of the first big three phenomenon to take place on NND, alongside “Let’s Go, Yin-yang Master!” and “You Are the Prince of Tennis.”
Left: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya | Right: Lucky Star
Left: Commando | Right: Futae no Kiwami
Left: NSFW!! Billy Herrington | Right: Attack on Titan
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niconico Douga – コードギアス+Nursery Rhyme / CGS MAD OP (ANOTHER 06) (YouTube) / Posted on 02-17-2007 (Defunct, Internet Archive)