On Aug. 7, a YouTuber by the name Southern Lights published a video of Dragonite and Charizard, two popular dragon-type Pokémon from the first generation of titles, dancing.
The video runs 3:36 minutes in length and is set against the backdrop of J-Pop group Gokuraku Jodo. It features the two aforementioned Pokémon dancing the entire length of the video, but since it was first published more than two weeks ago, it’s been re-edited with a variety of different tracks, including Santana’s "Smooth" and Crazy Town’s "Butterfly."
i'm sorry i'm trying to remove it pic.twitter.com/iWZ5mbxVcc— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) August 24, 2016
On their YouTube page, Southern Lights said the reason they did it was because they came across the specific animation style — MikuMikuDance (MMD), the same tool used to work with vocaloids like Hatsune Miku — and wanted to do something with Pokémon. When the creator came across the characters, created by an animator who specializes in MMD styling, MMDSatoshi, they decided to make the video.
On various Japanese websites dedicated to anime and Pokémon, the video has been passed around since Southern Lights first created it. Culture website Bili Bili, for example, hosted the video for its extensive user base, linking back to Southern Lights’ YouTube page. The reaction from the community led to users making their own videos, but it wasn’t until just a couple of days ago that people in North America and Europe seemed to come across it.
The video is sitting at just over 32,500 views (at the time of this writing), and based on the comment section, people are slowly learning that this was the original video thanks to posts on the Pokémon subreddit. Originally, credit was being given to Reddit user Bcassalino, who uploaded an animation from the video into the forum where it quickly picked up attention.
Now, it’s become a full on meme, with new versions of the video attached to different songs rolling out constantly. The Pokémon subreddit has an abundance of great — and some not so great — videos being added. While most people seem to be riding the wave of the meme’s popularity, Southern Lights said on their YouTube page that they originally created the video because they didn’t have any Pokémon gyms in Pokémon Go near where they lived, but wanted to do something to celebrate the franchise anyway.
Since the original video, Southern Lights has made a couple of more videos starring Dragonite and Charizard, but MMDSatoshi has already moved on. An artist with thousands of fans, MMDSatoshi is currently working on creating other Pokémon-inspired MMD animations. According to his Twitter account, his latest obsession is Psyduck and Meowth. A couple of dancing videos featuring the Pokémon can be seen in various tweets on his account.
Despite the popularity of the meme and people jumping on board, it seems the community is actively trying to keep Southern Lights’ name in the story, referring back to the original creator's YouTube page when possible and posting links on Southern Lights’ page to let them know when videos are going up both on YouTube and Facebook. For the most part, however, it seems that Southern Lights is okay with the sensation they’ve created, giving full permission to those who ask if they can republish the video or use it for their own use.
The video craze, undoubtedly sparked by the massive success of Pokémon Go, probably won’t be around for too long, though. Like most memes, these things have a shelf life and according to new statistics, Pokémon Go’s popularity is reportedly beginning to decline among players. For more on how to best play Pokémon Go and get the most out of it, be sure to check out Polygon’s guide.