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Nakasone OFF (Japanese : 中曽根OFF) is a series of offline meet-ups for group re-enactment of funny animated music videos in real life. Since 2007, dozens of Nakasone meetups have been arranged by hundreds of Nico Nico Douga (NND) users across several prefectures in Japan. The videos typically follow the original animation and feature various local twists and landmarks of the places they were shot in.
The offline meet-ups and reenactment videos were inspired by a viral animated dance video titled “Just little funny movie (少し楽しくなる動画),” which is based on two music videos “Rodeo Machine” and “Screw the Plan” made for Japanese musician Yoshihiro Takahashi’s solo project HALFBY. The animation for the music videos were produced by a Japanese design team Groovisions in 2006. The two videos were bundled together into one and uploaded onto Japanese video-sharing site Nico Nico Douga (NND) on March 7th, 2007:
The name “Nakasone OFF” is derived from a misinterpreted lyric heard in the song “Screw the Plan” and the Japanese shorthand “OFF” for offline meet-ups and flash mob events.
- RODEO MACHINE: “Oh my God” => “OMAI GONZO” (おまいGONZO, lit. You, GONZO)
- SCREW THE PLAN: “The devil’s in the details” => “Nakasone Teacher” (中曽根ティーチャー, lit. Nakasone Sensei)
The First Session
Soon after the video went viral in March 2007, around a dozen of NND users launched a web page to arrange the first offline meet-up, which was held in Akihabara, the Mecca of Otaku, on March 18th, 2007. The reenactment video was uploaded onto the site on the same day.
Inspired by the Akihabara flash mob event, many others began planning similar meet-ups in their local regions, making full use of NND forums as well as the Japanese social network service mixi for coordination.
Several Japanese music news sites mentioned the “Nakasone OFF” phenomenon in the article for HALFBY’s 2nd album that was released in August 2007. In addition, the Japanese news site Mycom Journal recommended the videos of Nakasone OFF in another feature article about Nico Nico Douga in September 2009.
HALFBY’s song “RODEO MACHINE” was included in the compilation CD of hit tunes from NND, such as Okkusenman, Can’t Beat Airman, Marisa Stole the Precious Thing, Danjo and Caramelldansen. The album was released in July 9th, 2008. He left a short but meaningful comment in the cover booklet:
Though I couldn’t follow all that, I learned that many things occurred in life.
I’ll talk about that to my mother, at least.
In between 2007 and 2009, at least 100 Nakasonet OFF videos have been uploaded onto NND, shot over 20 meet-ups in 12 cities across the country. As the trend continued, each video began to highlight the local characteristics and landmarks of the place. A number of parody videos were also created with 3D animation software like MikuMikuDance.
For more videos, check out the videos section in this entry.
The first session in Osaka was held in August 2007 and took 2 days to shoot the entire movie. People in Osaka is famous for their love of comedy and joke. This edition reflected their personality, and many cosplay including Horse Head Mask and Cardboard Box Gundam, were appearing in many scenes.
Held in September 2007, this session was primarily intended to reproduce the original exactly. After reaching out to local merchants’ association and railway companies, many scenes in this video were shot in must-see landmarks in Kagoshima.
This edition is built up with short scenes shot in 18 cities in total. About 250 people contributed to accomplish the mission.
GEISAI Art Fair
The 4th Nakasone OFF in Tokyo was hosted in September 2008 at the Japanese modern art fair GEISAI organized by Takashi Murakami. In this session which was something like a grand sum of this series, HALFBY himself joined as DJ on the stage.
Miku Miku Dance Parody
(See also : Miku Miku Dance)
Editor’s Note: Registration on NND is needed to browse the original videos listed in this section.
Mycom Journal – 【コラム】勝手に『ニコニコ動画』案内 (24) 日本全国に「中曽根OFF」旋風を巻き起こした「少し楽しくなる動画」って何だ? / 10-02-2009 (Japanese)