Armageddon was released worldwide in 1998. But since 2007, every year without fail, there has been a new "Armageddon" movie in Japan. What the hell is going on?
If you were in Japan during the late 1990s and early 00s, you'll know just how popular the disaster flick Armageddon was. You couldn't walk past a karaoke parlor without hearing the Aerosmith song blaring (even now, can still often hear it!). Over a decade later, Armageddon is still going in Japan, but the world just won't end.
These movies, however, have no direct connection to the original Hollywood blockbuster. In August 2007, Japanese distribution company Albatros Film released Armageddon 2007, a straight to DVD release with box art and a title that merely resembled the 1998 Michael Bay flick. Each following year, leading up to 2012, Albatros did the same, titling each one アルマゲドン or "Armageddon" in Japanese.
Online in Japan, people began to comment on how the box art for these movies looked like the posters for the original Armageddon or for the movie Deep Impact, which was also released in summer 1998. Both movies used black, teal, and orange motifs—a color palette that many video game companies also love using today.
The slew of Armageddon movies carry Japanese tag-lines that said this was the Earth's last day or asking if there was going to be a tomorrow. Seeing the annual movies lined up, with their doomsday tag-lines, became somewhat of a meme in Japan, with people posting the last Armageddon box art and wondering when the hell the world was actually going to end.
These were not sequels! They were totally different movies, made by different filmmakers and different studios in different countries. The movies were repacked versions of American, Canadian, and British disaster flicks that, well, were knockoffs of the original Armageddon. And while they had apocalyptic titles, they weren't all called "Armageddon".
For comparison with the top image, check out the original movie box art:
While the cover art is different, Alien Armageddon is the only movie that has the same title in Japanese. It's also the only one that actually uses the world "armageddon". Still, these original movies are certainly disaster flick cash-ins—but just not as obvious as their repackaged Japanese counterparts.
The straight-to-DVD Armageddon flicks have apparently done well enough in Japan to warrant copycats (though, pretty sure nobody I know here has seen any of these movies). They're probably the movies that people accidentally rent.
Another distribution company, Odessa Entertainment, released movies like Armageddon Panic (known in the West as Before the Fall) and Armageddon 20XX (aka 20 Years After), and even used a similar cover design to the string of Armageddon flicks. One company, Matsutake Home Video, even released Armageddon 2012 in 2010 (2010!), which, two years later, forced Albatros Film to title its release Armageddon 2012: Mercury Crisis. You know, so people wouldn't get confused.
So far in 2013, Albatros Film has released one Armageddon film, titled Armageddon of the Dead. It is a re-release of horror sci-fi flick Solid State. Of course, the original poster didn't have the word "armageddon" or the color orange, but its Japanese re-release sure does. Will the world end, though? Not when there's a disaster movie to release next year, it won't!
地球に隕石 落ちすぎワロタｗｗｗｗｗｗｗｗｗｗｗｗ [ぴょんてな]
To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.
Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.