"japan is an island by the sea filled with volcanoes and it's b e a u t i f u l."A video made by bill wurtz, which basically abridges the history of Japan from 40,000 years ago to the present day into a nine-minute-long hallucinogenic video. Watch it here. Be prepared for absolute weirdness.Followed up a year later in 2017 with a 20-minute video that examines the entire history of the world.
— The first lines from the video, and just the tip of the iceberg.
knock knock, it's tropes:
- all lowercase letters: why, yes! Standard for Bill Wurtz.
- Bait-and-Switch: Once the Russians were done building their railroad in Manchuria they would downgrade the shit-ton of soldiers supervising it to a FUCK-ton."Did I say downgrade? I meant upgrade."
- Blatant Lies: The states of Choshu and Satsuma are able to overthrow the shogunate with almost very little outside help (quick flash of British flag).
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: There is a quick flash of "vote now on your phones," but it doesn't last very long.
- Bring It: After the Mongols invade China.Mongols: We've invaded China. Please respect us, or we might invade you as well.Japanese: [draw swords] Okay.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Runs rampant within this video, but here are just four examples:"In the year -40,000 it was here, and you could walk to it, and some people walked to it.""Open the country. Stop having it be closed.""Breaking news: the Mongols have invaded China. 'We've invaded China,' said the Mongols.""Correction: rich important people hired samurai. Poor people who could not afford to hire samurai did not hire samurai."
- Eagleland: "Knock knock. It's the United States. With huge boats. With guns. Gunboats."
- Early Installment Weirdness: The script had a slightly different dialogue compared to the video.
- Embarrassing Nickname: China used to call Japan "wa" (or "dwarf"). Or as Bill puts it, "dipshit".
- The Empire: The rise of Imperial Japan is attributed here as stemming from Japan's desire to emulate its successful western contemporaries. And do you know what was especially western in that age? Conquering stuff.
- Enemy Mine: Subverted. America helps Britain in World War II because they're "good friends" and stops helping Japan because "their friends and our friends are not friends".
- "plus they're planning on invading the entire ocean".
- Everything's Better with Samurai: Especially when it comes to protecting your shit from criminals.note
- Funny Background Event: There are brief flashes of other notes and jokes that can fly by pretty quickly if you're not paying attention.
- "and they did some rapes!" shows up thrice.
- I Know You Know I Know: Exaggerated in the run-up to World War I:"The next thing on their list is this part of China [Qingdao] and lots of tiny islands. All that stuff belongs to Germany, which just had war declared on by Britain, because Britain was friends with Belgium, which was being trespassed in order to get to France to kick France's ass, because France is friends with Russia, who was getting ready to kick Austria's ass because Austria was getting ready to kick Serbia's ass, because someone from Serbia shot the leader of Austria's ass... or, actually, he shot him in the head. And Britain is currently friends with Japan, so you know what that means...[beat] duh, Japan should take the islands!"
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: When Europe comes for the second time around, they are here to sell clocks, and guns, and J e s u s!
- Lemony Narrator: bill wurtz is absolutely ridiculous in his narration. He still gets the point across.
- Meaningful Background Event:
- Motor Mouth: Necessary when you want to tell several millennia worth of history in nine minutes.
- Mood Whiplash: Done twice in a row. When the USA drops its nukes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the music completely goes silent for a few moments, emphasizing the seriousness of this event. Then Japan raises a flag saying "you win."
- Mundane Made Awesome: It's the actual history of Japan condensed into a nine-minute video full of off-the-wall humor that still manages to convey most of the facts there.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: Japan technically participated in World War I, so it gets to join the League of Nations along with everyone else. Of course, in the picture of the League's founding, Japan is so Out of Focus that their representative is half-obscured by the edge of the picture.
- No Ending: After getting to modern-day Japan, there's a brief jingle that says "bye," and the video abruptly stops.
- No, You: When Japan raises concerns about Russia suddenly amassing a huge garrison at Manchuria:Japan: Could you maybe chill?
Russia: How about maybe you chill?
- Overwhelming Exception: Everyone was hiring samurai! Correction
- Puppet King: The emperor, once the first shogunate is formed. The shogunate still allows the emperor to have nice things and live in the palace at Kyoto, but the shogun in Edo holds all the real power.
- Rapid-Fire Comedy: In history form!
- Running Gag:
- "Knock knock, it's X."
- "They made a new X that was pretty western."
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: During the Mongols' invasion of Japan, the Mongols somehow manage to die in a tornadonote twice.
- Shown Their Work: The video is surprisingly well-researched, despite being what it is.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Two of the cheeriest jingles in the video are those announcing the start of World Wars I and II.
- Weather of War: Two "tornadoes"note foil the Mongols' attempted invasion of Japan.
but everything's still pretty cool i guess — b y e!