The Japanese Internet is busy celebrating April Fool’s Day, and one gag sure to amuse otaku is webhosting company Sakura Internet’s homepage, which is currently redirecting all visitors to a To Aru Kagaku themed parody of its site, complete with “To Aru”‘s prefixing nearly every site category and special deals for residents of “Academy City”.
The fun prank is actually an officially licensed one, apparently done as a mix of April Fool’s tomfoolery and Internet advertising.
It would be best to experience the website firsthand for yourself before reading too much about it – the Sakura Internet website is still redirecting visitors to the prank page and should keep on doing so for the rest of the day, but even if not, chances are that the cleverly named http://toaru.sakura.ne.jp/ will remain online for at least a while longer.
The text in the top left spells out the situation fairly clearly for any of Sakura’s potential non-otaku customers, who were probably fairly confused by all this, in the To Aru series’ style of titling, including even a English-derived furigana reading of a complicated Japanese word in tiny text, much like “Index” or “Railgun”:
A Certain Company’s Shigatsu Baka (April Fool)
There’s also a Flash movie that plays in the center of the page:
The Flash movie that plays when the site is loaded starts up with this とある日常の喫茶店 (A Certain Everyday Café, with ‘coffee shop’ as the furigana subtitle) title screen, and continues to show several small vignettes with Mikoto, Kuroku, Uiharu and Saten seated at their favorite café as seen in the TV series, and strangely discussing webhosting options, Saten opening up her own webpage, and so on.
There are several of these, but the first one that plays goes like so:
Mikoto: I want to start a blog, but…
Saten: A blog, huh?
Uiharu: The one we have at Judgement is definitely… (difficult, cumbersome, etc.)
Kuroko: For that, it has to be “Sakura”, Onee-sama!
The rest of them follow similarly, with large pop-up boxes at the end giving this sort of announcements:
Mikoto’s going to use them, Sakura Rental Servers!
Kuroko recommends it, Sakura Rental Servers!
Uiharu agrees, Sakura Rental Servers!
The rest of the page is a bizarre mix of their regular website’s information with lots of “To Aru”‘s sprinkled about, references to Academy City, and a healthy amount of amusing artwork.
Unfortunately, only the frontpage has been given this treatment; clicking any link besides the DVD/BD ad on the page simply links to the regular Sakura website, even the announcement for an “Academy City Sakura Rental Plan.”