On the night of August 2, during the “Friday Roadshow” airing of the Japanese anime film Laputa: Castle in the Sky on Nippon Television Network, Japanese netizens renewed the world record of Tweets Per Second (TPS) at 143,199 TPS (Tweet per second) by all tweeting the magic spell “BALS” at the same time as the protagonists Princess Sheeta and Pazu read the spell together during the film. In the story, the magic spell “BALS”, meaning “close” in the language of Laputa, is a spell of destruction that destroys the city of Laputa. The spell is said to have derived from the Turkish word “barış”, meaning “peace”.
Laputa’s “BALS” Breaks World Record Again, “The Wind Has Risen”, Or Perhaps The Fun Was Spoilt?
Studio Ghibli’s anime film Laputa: Castle In The Sky was aired on Nippon Television Network on August 2, 2013. As predicted, internet users tweeted and wrote on 2ch the magic spell of destruction “BALS” that appears in the film, at the same time as the protagonists read the spell in the film.
As a result, the world record on Tweet per Second (the number of the same word being tweeted during a second; TPS) was broken yet again.
Official TV channel accounts also tweet “BALS”
Twitter Inc. reported from its official Japan account on 3rd August:
“The record for yesterday’s “BALS” has been counted. The number of tweets peaked at PM 11:21:50, and it reached 143,199TPS, a significant rise from the record that was made this year when “Happy New Year” reached 33,388TPS.”
Last time the film was aired in December 2011, there was 25,088 “BALS” tweets, but this year exceeded this by five times, and the tweets reached 140,000. With this, the previous Tweet Per Second world record held by the Japanese “Happy New Year” tweets on January 1, 2013 at 33,000 TPS has been broken again by the Japanese.
Corporate twitter accounts also bandwagoned on this “BALS” trend. From the PR account of Yahoo！Japan, who set up a “BALS” button on their top page (which, when pressed, makes the page appear to self-destruct) to Amazon.co.jp, PlayStation, Nissan, KFC , and Lawson all these companies tweeted “BALS” around PM 11:21.
Other TV channel’s PR and advertisement accounts also tweeted tweets that related to the trend:
“I’m not saying BALS tonight” (TV Asahi)
“＼BALS！／” (TV Tokyo)
“After saying ＼( ・д・) BALS !! ／, watch NHK General” (NHK)
“I was talking to my colleague about advertisement, nothing to do with BALS” (TBS TV)
The “Festival” Has Become Too Commercial…
Twitter Inc’s official account tweeted before the airing of the film, “I’m excited to see what’s going to happen to “BALS” this time. (I hope the servers will withstand it!).” NicoNico Douga encouraged users to actively take part by setting up “BALS Festival NicoNico Site”.
There were many that felt that by an underground festival being officially recognised and hailed as a big event throughout the internet industry, the fun had gone.
Looking back at the “festival”, 2ch users commented that it has become too commercialized;
“As soon as it’s recognised by society it’s a kill-joy”
“I think as soon as corporations come out and tell you, “let’s say BALS”, the fun is spoilt”
“Last time it was fun because without all telling each other to do it we all did this stupid thing anyway, but this time silly adults are moving money for this and that’s no fun. It’ll just get worse”
On the other hand, there were still some opinions like “Even though I am a hikkikomori, I felt that I was part of society”.
There were also some criticisms about the “festival” itself too;
“I really don’t like the useless festival banter…..I don’t understand what’s fun about it”
“Even though they usually criticize the media the media is completely controlling the BALS people”
“Well there are over 100 million people in Japan, it’s saved by the fact that most people don’t have anything to do with this”
Then there were those that seemed to have a wider view of things;
“Well there are those that criticize but this is how Japanese people are, it can’t really be helped”
“There are those that enjoy the festival, and then there are those that enjoy criticizing. Everyone enjoys BALS in their own way”
Although there are both positive and negative opinions, since it trended this much, we might say that for BALS, it wasn’t just that “The Wind Has Risen” [Kaze Tachinu] like the new Studio Ghibli film, but seemed like a “typhoon” has risen.
Comments from Yahoo! Japan:
Muska’s defeat was obvious, he allowed Pazu 3 minutes for something that can be done in 40 seconds.
BALS has become like the biggest load test for social networking sites.
The servers of the world are being strengthened thanks to bi-annual “BALS”.
Laputa will not perish, it will come back to life time and time again!
A mysterious sense of unity.
They say it’s a wide world out there, but when I think that it’s pretty much only Japan that his such a culture as this, it feels kinda profound.
Boy, those servers held up well given that the were 140,000 tweets per second.
Given that it’s more than 20 years since this film was made, is there any other film that’s been loved as much as this (in various senses of the word)?
Ultimately you always watch this ’til the very end, right? (笑)
I mean, I guess its because of the commercials?
Doesn’t the running time get longer every year?
It’s just too amazing that this film, which was in fact made 25 years ago, and has been broadcast dozens of times, still gets more than a 15% audience share every time it’s on.
And Totoro is always around 20%.
I guess that the fact that these films are from 25 years ago means that the kids who were born back then are now becoming parents and starting to show these films to their own children, so these films will go on to be famous works that will be passed through the generations.