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Nipah (Japanese: にぱー), also known under different writings such as “nippah”, “nipaa” or also “nippaa”, refers to the catchphrase repeatedly uttered by a character from the Higurashi When They Cry anime, which is an onomatopoeia or a sound effect meaning grin/smile. It has been known an Internet fame similar to "Desu" and "Uso-da!".
Higurashi TV anime series aired its first season in Japan from July to December in 2006, and its second season on the same period in 2007. The character Rika Furude (古手 梨花) and her habit of saying nonsense words such as “mii” (みぃ〜) and “nipah” (にぱ〜), among other things had often appeared on screen since the first episode.
Left: “Nipah” in the 1st episode | Right: “Nipah” Collection
That character’s popularity was also boosted following a 2channel event called the Anime Saimoe Tournament, an online popularity contest used to vote for the most moe anime girl of each year. This title was bestowed upon Rika Furude in 2007.
In addtion, she became to be reused in MAD videos as well as other When They Cry characters after the Japanese video sharing service Nico Nico Douga (NND) was launched in 2007. Her impressive remark “Nipah” has been frequently featured in those videos.
Prior to the anime’s official North American release in 2008, it was already popular on the Western web via fansubs as this myanimelist thread from October 2007 shows. Then, before 2008, anime fans were already confronted to that series and its characters, especially Rika’s “mii” and “Nipah”. An English image board site Desuchan launched /nipa/ board for this franchise around 2008. A single-serving site http://nipaa.net also launched in 2012.
Besides, not only in flash animations, she had been reused in Youtube Poop videos in the early days of the phenomena. One of the early instances is entitled “Nipah~” uploaded by user Pichuko. on March 18th, 2007. This video has gathered more than 300,000 views to date.
On the online illustrators community deviantART (dA), Rika Furude is also a well-known character and one of the popular subjects for Higurashi fanart. In addition to this, illustrations utilizing several base images of Rika Furude’s cheerful close-up face, with or without the “Nipah”, became a fad on dA around 2009. dA users jumped on this exploitable style fad and replaced the base by their favorite character’s face.
YouTube Poops & MADs
Left: Timotei | Right: Caramelldansen
Left: Touhou Project song Overdrive | Right: Touhou Project song Usatei
Left: Sparta Remix | Right: While I Play Unfitting Music
MyAnimeList.net – Which fansub group you prefer for Higurashi series? / 10-19-2007