General // September 26, 2010

Outside of Toho Kingdom, I’m rather notorious among my coworkers for being the proverbial “wet blanket” when it comes to practical jokes. Perhaps it’s just my philosophy to always try to make a prank friendly or to always have it end with a sigh of relief; regardless, practical jokes are a rarity for me. Nevertheless, the internet provides a medium that allows for my style of humor, and there is one day in the year where there is a universal, unspoken law that gives me an outlet for my shenanigannery.

TK Staff Trading Cards
(Collect Them All!)

The day in question is, of course, April Fools’ Day; and what better way to celebrate than by adding a completely unusable web store, posting an unnecessary flash intro without the benefit of a skip intro button (the 2009 joke), contributing to a self-indulgent blog (the 2007 joke), or even hiring on completely fictional staff members whilst plunging the forums into a sea of random, word-censored confusion (the 2006 joke)? But I digress, let’s concentrate on the most recent one.

For 2010, I had two ideas for the April Fools’ Day prank. I submitted them both to Anthony for consideration, just on the off chance that he didn’t have a joke already planned. The first idea was a Toho Kingdom quiz, where members would have to answer trivia in order to gain access to the site. The second idea was a Toho Kingdom store, where users would be offered the chance to buy overpriced, overrated memorabilia.

The blue kanji, which were superimposed onto several of the original images, roughly translate to “April Fools’ Day”.

The second idea was agreed upon, and work began to make what I thought would be an instantly unbelievable store to showcase a variety of completely asinine items. The kiosque was posted on the index page, situated above an inactive checkout button.

I personally thought that nobody would buy it (pardon the pun). Don’t get me wrong, I was very excited to pursue the idea, but I simply thought it would end up being a purely fun prank without anyone finding themselves “taken in”. I even posted the notorious March 32nd date in accordance with tradition. Nevertheless, an email from a concerned visitor warning that our prices might be a tad too high (and our quantities a bit skewed) toppled my preconceived notions about the potency of the practical joke.

For those of you interested in just what we had to “offer”, please see below. Originally, photos accompanied these descriptions. Since the prank was only going to last a day, there wasn’t an immense need to worry about usage rights; so we are now quite incapable of posting many of the photos that were initially used:

The Hat:
A hat temporarily worn by Akira Kurosawa during his well-known 1989 visit to Miami, Florida. We think it was around this time that he wrote the scripts for both Dreams (1990) and Madadayo (1993). John McCartney, who currently resides just outside of Titusville, saved the hat and donated it to Toho Kingdom back in 2004. Today, we’re proud to sell it at an exorbitant (technically infinite) profit:
Price: 899.99
Qty. Remaining: 10
Miki Saegusa Action Figure:
Miki Saegusa, proud psychic defender of Japan and international face of the Heisei Timeline. Equipped with LED eyes, her powers are clearly superior to those of other psychics. She fought the nuclear leviathan with her mind powers in Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989), a feat only SpaceGodzilla has since been able to boast. Please buy her; her excellence speaks for itself:
Price: 199.99
Qty. Remaining: 30
Female Godzilla:
The King of the Monsters herself? Queen Hatshepsut, I presume? This is the rarest-of-rare of Godzilla action figures… Female Godzilla (only 200 were produced back in 2005). You can tell she’s female due to the biological idiosyncrasies of the upper tail region. After years of searching, we’ve managed to amass a pretty substantial collection of these rare dolls, thereby cornering the entire market:
Price: 399.99
Qty. Remaining: 210
Goji Berries:
The name speaks for itself. A three week supply of anti-oxidant rich Goji Berries, Godzilla’s berry of choice. Widely found in pretentious pseudo-hippie stores, these dried little joys will bring a much-needed infusion of radioactivity to your nuclear core:
Price: 49.99
Qty. Remaining: 80
“Don’t Stomp on my City!”™:
Rights to the phrase “Don’t Stomp on my City!”™ are available only here. What better way to show your girlfriend, wife, or Japanese Anime body pillow that you love her than by buying her the rights to this stomptastic bit of phraseology? From our hands to your hands and back to our pockets:
Price: 1999.99
Qty. Remaining: 1
Signed Photograph:
Would you like signed photographs of your favorite Toho actors, actresses, and/or rubber-suited beasties? Akira Kubo, Kumi MizunoToshiro Mifune, and Nancy Cartwright are among the few personalities available upon request, in autographed photo form! There are so many more:
Price: 399.99
Qty. Remaining: Unlimited
Anguirus: The Board Game:
Anguirus: The Board Game, produced in extremely limited quantities following the release of Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) in Japan. This is the ultimate for any Angy-Fan (or “Angy-Fangy”, if you so desire). Roll up in a spiky ball and make your way across 47 challenging spaces with 23 heart-pounding situation cards. Will you end up in Siberia, or will you find yourself massively pwned by Mechagodzilla? The possibilities are finite!
Price: 743.26
Qty. Remaining: 3
Advertise on Toho Kingdom:
Do you have a brand of soda that you would love to market to our nerdy demographics? Do you run an MMORPG that you feel our users would find “groovy”? Are you a representative from a financial institution that boasts a suspiciously ambiguous mission statement? It doesn’t matter; we want your money! And we’re willing to put advertising wherever you so choose. We have a simple formula for determining the costs of our advertising services; please have the Harvard graduate students that you’ve Shanghaied into indentured servitude explain to you the simple metrics behind our even simpler formula (n = the net worth of your business):
April Fools Formula
TK Staff Trading Cards:
I’ll trade you two Chris Mirjahangir’s for three Steve Johnson’s. What can we say? Young minds are impressionable and trading cards are lucrative. There’s nothing better than having the full collection of anything, right? All TK Staff Trading cards are the same low price, with the exception of the ultra-rare Anthony Romero Holographic Starter Card (only triple the price of the other trendy cards):
Price: 74.99
Qty. Remaining: 100
Uranium (Replica):
Hey, Godzilla eats the stuff for breakfast; why shouldn’t you? This is uranium-235 that we’ve procured through mostly legal means, and we’re pleased to present to you this highly volatile, easily fissile material at a relatively low price. Please remember that uranium-235 canbe used to make atomic bombs, and therefore should NOT be used in this manner. All interested parties will be asked to sign a pledge stating their capitulation with our expectations. (Note: This is a replica, not the real stuff.)
Price: Available Upon Request
Qty. Remaining: Available Upon Request