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“We Are Being Forced!” (Japanese: 強いられているんだ!, Shiirarete Irunda!) is a catchphrase coined in 2011 TV anime in Gundam series Mobile Suit Gudam AGE. Its cult popularity among internet users not only defined somewhat bad reputation of the anime, but also elicited a humorous reaction from the production.
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE was aired from October 2011 to September 2012, and its production focused on getting new low-age Gundam fans. So, different from the previous titles, there were many comic-like depictions in its storylines, characters and mobile suits designs. It often became the subject of controversy among existing Gundam fans, and the anime finally didn’t achieve enough commercial success as a Gundam title.
In that context, the remark was uttered by Iwark Bria (イワーク・ブライア) in the 6th episode aired on November 13th, 2011. In the scene, this middle-aged guy with oddly short fat body (shown above) told the protagonists, Flit and Emily, with a detached tone about their hard life forced by pointless ideologies of people on topside in their space colony. Shortly after, he suddenly uttered the remark along with saturated linework.
Flit: But this is pointless…!
Iwark: Exactly. There is no point to it at all. Those people topside live their extravagant lives, and at the same time, fight against each others’ pointless ideologies all day long. And because of that, We’re being forced to live this kind of life!
This combination of Iwark’s serious remark, quite eager look and strange body shape, and sudden comic-like saturated linework effect in inappropriate timing gave a strong feeling of strangeness to viewers. Furthermore, his ridiculousness was so much emphasized by his foolhardy attack to battle mobile suits by unstylish work mobile suit “Desperado”.
Because of this ridiculous storyline and rendition, both Iwark himself and his remark “We Are Being Forced!” soon became to laughing stocks on internet communities.
It started by Futaba Channel (2chan) user’s huge amount of parody photo collages/gif animations mocking at Iwark’s odd body shape, 2channel users immediately made Shift-JIS arts reproducing the scene, and many parody illustrarions of this scene have been posted to the illustration section in Nico Nico Douga (NND) , Nico Nico Seiga, and Japanese illustrators community pixiv. Besides, because it was quite easy to insert this phrase in daily conversations, the phrase “X is being forced to…” also became to a buzz word on the Japanese web.
On NND, a reprinted video of this scene has earned hundreds of thousands of page views. Iwark has been reused in many parody and MAD videos. And a NND user developed augmented reality program realizing “We Are Being Forced!” by automatic facial recognition system (shown below, left). This funny invention was reported by Kotaku JAPAN on January 22nd, 2012. Besides, Japanese adult video game Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai! released in January 2012 included a homage to Iwark’s remark and that (shown below, right).
However, this online phenomena is hardly confirmed on YouTube because MBS/TBS, broadcasting stations for the TV anime series which are very strict to copyright infringements on video sharing services except for NND and soon delete reproduced videos from there. Their another visual contents, K-ON!, is also being forced to live under the same situation.
Feedback to the Official
As contrasted to an imperfect reputation of the anime itself, Iwark Bria succeeded to give a huge impact to Japanese anime fans. Then, the production joined onto Iwark’s bandwagon and began featuring him in the following Gundam AGE official franchise, even though he was a minor guest character who appeared on that episode only.
At the end of February, 2012, a time-limited event titled “We’re Forced!!” was held in a mobile social game Gundam Royale, he appeared on the campaign banner along with that phrase (shown below, left). Furthermore, a Gundam AGE character song album released in August, 2012 includes Iwark’s song titled “Desperado Blues”. That famous line “We’re being forced to…” repeatedly appears from the beginning of its lyrics (shown below, right).
Finally, the remark “We Are Being Forced!” became 7th in 2012 Japanese Internet Buzz Word Award.
Collages & Gif Animations
“Mog’s Theme” from Final Fantasy 6
Miku Miku Dance
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