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TikTok’s latest trend is actually inspired by a 2019 mobile game

I’m so happy!

Image: KLab Inc./Bushiroad via Arrekusa JP
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

Mari Ohara, a character from a Japanese idol game called Love Live School Idol Festival All Stars, has snuck her way to viral fame. A voice line of the character saying, “I’m so happy... I’m so sad,” has become a huge TikTok trend this past month; it’s been used in roughly 150 thousand videos at the time of publication.

The videos all use a similar joke format based on the sound. Basically, each clip presents a scenario where the person starts out thinking something would make them happy, but then they realize the negative impact of whatever excited them at first. Thus the change in emotion from feeling happy to sad.

For example, one video that has roughly 3.2 million views shows a young person entering a bookstore and buying a stack of books with the onscreen text “spending money on books,” while the “I’m so happy” part of the audio plays. Then once Mari says, “I’m so sad,” the caption changes to “realizing how much you spent.”

Another TikTok with 3.7 million views has onscreen text that says, “Quitting my job at Google to make games about bubble tea” during the happy part, and during the sad part it says, “Working 24/7 with very little $ income.”

Love Live School Idol Festival All Stars follows a group of friends that work together to become the ultimate girl group. It’s a large franchise and even has its own anime, but this specific sound comes from Love Live School Idol Festival All Stars — a 2019 mobile game developed by KLab Inc.

The game smashes together lots of different game mechanics: There’s a rhythm game for the performances, narrative elements where you get to know your friends, and another aspect of the game that’s like a caring sim where you can bond with idols to unlock new episodes (this is the part of the game with the viral sound). YouTuber Arrekusa JP posted the clip of the audio, which you can view below.

This isn’t the first time Mari has rocketed to meme-centric fame; a clip of Mari saying, “It’s joke” from the anime became a popular reaction GIF. In the comments of the video with the “I’m so happy” quote, fans of the game have gathered to express excitement over Mari’s renewed stardom with comments like, “LOVE LIVE FANS RISE UP” and “MISS MA’AM MARI OHARA FINALLY GOING VIRAL.” It’s looking like the Love Live star has once again found the fame her fans felt she deserved.

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