OH WOW I just got back from finally seeing Wreck-it Ralph, which FINALLY came to theaters in Japan only two weeks ago!
Wreck it Ralph was actually titled Sugar Rush (シュガー・ラッシュ) in Japan. It is directed by fellow nerd and otaku Rich Moore, who was greatly inspired by Japanese culture in the making of the film.
I mean, first and foremost there is the OBVIOUS tribute to video games and gaming. You don’t get very far into the film before characters like Bowser, Sonic the Hedgehog, Ryu and Ken make their cameos! (By the way – anyone else notice the Star Wars arcade console in the opening? Nice use of copyrights, Disney! 9_9)
Looking closer you can see more subtle references to gaming throughout the film:
- the building-climbing Fix-it Felix who dodges objects thrown off the roof by a large, burly antagonist Ralph closely resembles the old Mario vs. Donkey Kong styled games, does it not? In fact…
… Niceland, Wreck-It Ralph’s home world, is inspired by “limitations,” specifically the technical limitations of 8-bit video games. “The backgrounds of those games are often black because it would take computing power to put color onto those video screens back in the ’80s,” … “So when you’re outside in Niceland, there’s a lot of black sky.” (♥)
- Tamora Jean Calhoun’s Call of Duty/Halo-esque Hero’s Duty game also spoofs the Metroid Series: in both universes the heroine fights an alien race that GLOMS ONTO THE FACES of its ENEMIES (incidentally, Metroid was in turn influenced by the Alien series in many ways [REFERENCE! CHECK IT!]).
- The game Sugar Rush also contains elements from Mario Kart, including the item blocks and opening sequence to the race.
Pretty much anyone will admit that this film pays GLORIOUS SERVICE to GAMING FANS EVERYWHERE! And in particular Japanese games are referenced. Oooooooooooooooooh watching this film was like getting to the stage goal before Shigeru Miyamoto in 2-player versus and then ROLLING with him down a GREEN HILL ZONE HILL and PINNING HIM NAKED underneath an open SKY OF STAR ROADS and R-WINGS.
But the tributes to Japan don’t end there.
- Did you know that the character designs of Vanellope von Schweetz and her racing buddies were based on Harajuku fashion?♠ Just look at all the colourful stockings and little doo-dads stuck in Vanellope’s hair and tell me they don’t look anything like THIS:
- There are actually influences to many different candy and sweet makers from around the world. But the one sugary cameo I got excited about was that of Japanese confectioner mascot Beard Papa! Beard Papa bakeries sell delicious cream puffs world wide, but Beard Papa himself is apparently the gate keeper of the castle in Sugar Rush!
- Our final point concerns the soundtrack of the film – specifically the song “Sugar Rush,” which is performed by Japanese idol band AKB48. THIS IS THE ONLY AKB SONG I will admit to liking…. although honestly after listening to it a few times, the shine has already worn off… Can anyone in AKB actually sing? Ah well…
But this film is JAM PACKED with references from gaming to architecture! What was your favourite reference??