From Grand Theft Auto to Dancing Pudding

Everybody's got to start somewhere. For fashion blogger turned singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, it was the streets of chic Harajuku where she first made her biggest splash.

Like so many hipster Harajuku kids, her fashion was cutting edge—outrageous, even. But unlike so many hipster kids, she didn't shy from shilling an Xbox 360 game, a skill that would come in handy after she became famous.

Even if you do not know the name Kyary (sometimes it's "Carrie" or "Carry") Pamyu Pamyu, you might be familiar with her song "PonPonPon", a Kool-Aid infused candy pop ditty. If not, you can see it here. Kyary followed that up with her official debut single "Tsukema Tsukeru" and a video that's slightly less trippy and mind numbing than "PonPonPon".

Long before that, Kyary was just a high schooler with peculiar fashion sense. (And before that, it's rumored that she was a "junior idol" under another name, appearing in swimsuit pictures; this isn't that uncommon as celebrities like Kill Bill's Chiaki Kuriyama started as underage junior idols.) Sister site Kotaku Japan spotted a 2010 video of Kyary pre-"PonPonPon" when she was 17 years old. In it, she and a friend are talking about what kind of guys they like; Kyary likes guys who resemble "Draco Malfroy" from Harry Potter.

At the end of the clip, the girls are holding a copy of Grand Theft Auto IV for the Xbox 360—which is odd considering that the game, especially the Xbox 360 version, was not mainstream in Japan, but rather appealed to core gamers. And then the two begin saying how much fun the game is, even though they admit they haven't played it (that last bit is not translated in the clip). The whole thing feels like somebody said, "Hey cool kids, hold this and say you like it."

The clip is from Tokyo fashion site RID, which focuses on what chic kids on the street are wearing. While unconfirmed, the clip sure seems like a viral ad, which would not be unheard of. Microsoft Japan apparently roped in schoolgirls for viral Xbox 360 promotions a few years back.

After "PonPonPon" exploded last summer, Kyary moved into the Japanese mainstream, appearing in ads, including what is the greatest pudding (or "flan") commercial ever to grace Japanese television. While few remember her pre-"PonPonPon" Grand Theft Auto shill, these recent pudding commercials are being labeled as "godly" online.

As I've said before, Japanese celebrities are often judged by how many commercials they appear in. The more commercials, the better. And the more memorable, the better.

Glico's pudding is the pudding in Japan, so when regular people think of pudding, they think of this. And now, when they think of pudding, they think of Kyary and her pudding dance. And when they think of Grand Theft Auto—what am I talking about, regular people in Japan don't think about GTA. Though, they do love pudding.


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