Example of the "It's Over 9000!" meme, which depicts a still image of Vegeta crushing his scouter.

"It's Over 9000!", also known as simply "Over 9000!", refers to an internet meme and a form of trolling involving a particularly famous change made for English localizations of an episode of the Dragon Ball Z anime television series titled "The Return of Goku", which originally aired on April 19, 1997.

The phrase refers to an alteration of the original line spoken in Japanese by the Saiyan character Vegeta, voiced in English by actor Brian Drummond, in the 21st episode of the Ocean Productions English dub. The phrase is typically used as an innumerable quantifier to describe a large quantity of something.

Origins and analysisEdit

In the Dragon Ball franchise, the Power Level is a recurring concept which denotes the combat strength of a warrior. In the original Japanese and English-translated mangas as well as the original Japanese anime series, Goku's power level is actually read as "over 8000!" (8000以上だ…!, Hassen ijō da…!)."

In the English-dub of the episode, the main protagonist Goku returns to the Earth after intense training in the Other World to square off against Vegeta and his aide Nappa. As Goku powers up in rage after learning they had killed his ally Piccolo right before his arrival, Vegeta senses an explosive increase in his power level through his scouter device. In response to Nappa's query about Goku's power level, Vegeta yells: "It's over nine thousand!". A video clip of the scene from the episode was first uploaded by a 4chan user on October 17, 2006 and became popular as Vegeta's line does not accurately fit his mouth flaps.

In most versions of the scene dubbed in other languages, Vegeta actually says "It's over 8000!". However, even in the Remastered Uncut Funimation English dub, Vegeta still says "It's over 9000!", now performed by Christopher Sabat. This change was made due to inconsistencies with the dubbing process; the production team claimed that "9000" fit the mouth flaps of the animation better. This has occurred several other times where power levels are given more as estimates than accurate figures. For instance, Gohan's retaliation against Nappa is given as "over 2,800", and Frieza's power level is given as "over one million!". Frieza later claims this power level is only 1% of his full power, when it is in fact, less than 1% of his maximum power level of 120 million.[1]

Subsequent releases and dubs have used one of the two numbers.[2]

Popularity and receptionEdit

The original video was shared as an inside joke.[3] The popularity of the video quickly spread, inspiring a series of remix videos on YouTube, various image macros and demotivational posters on 4chan, as well as parody sites dedicated to the phrase. The meme's notoriety reached its first peak in 2007, when 4chan moderators implemented a word filter that would turn any mentions of the number 7 into "over 9000".

The most viewed video clip of the original scene uploaded on YouTube has received over 15 million views to date, while various parodies and spoofs of the clip received a large number of views on YouTube and Vine as well. In addition to being referenced in numerous official and fan-made English language Dragon Ball media, the "It's Over 9000!" meme has also influenced various real life topics and fictional works unrelated to the Dragon Ball series.

In September 2008, an anonymous troll left an alarming message on the official message board of American journalist and businesswoman Oprah Winfrey's talk show, in which he claimed to represent an organized network of over 9,000 paedophiles. Oprah took the bait and read the post before her audience in an episode of the show.[4] A video clip of Oprah's message to her audience was promptly uploaded to YouTube, however it was quickly removed due to a copyright claim by Harpo, Inc. In spite of that, numerous remix videos featuring Oprah's mention of "9000 penises" continued to surface on YouTube.

Google searches for the "Over 9000" DBZ reference have on average surpassed searches for HAL 9000 from Stanley Kubrick's seminal 1968 science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey.[5]

The book Dragon Ball Z 'It's Over 9,000!' When Worldviews Collide by Derek Padula, explains the "Over 9000" meme's full history and relevance in pop culture, while also providing a complete psychological analysis of Goku and Vegeta's colliding worldviews.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Daizenshuu 7
  2. ^ Padula, Derek (2012). Dragon Ball Z 'It's Over 9,000!' When Worldviews Collide' (PDF). forward by Ryo Horikawa. ISBN 978-0-9831205-2-0. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-09-12.
  3. ^ https://www.japanator.com/post.phtml?pk=7824
  4. ^ Phillips, Whitney (2016-05-09). "The House That Fox Built: Anonymous, Spectacle, and Cycles of Amplification". University of Oregon, Eugene. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  5. ^ https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&q=over%209000,HAL%209000