The hot meme in Los Santos right now is replacing character models with folks from other games and across pop culture, giving Grand Theft Auto V cutscenes a very weird energy. Folks are focused on the scene where Lamar roasts Franklin, swapping in all sorts of characters and voices for silly effect. But in a video game full of dickheads, the one that most warms the cockles of my heart is Yakuza‘s Kiryu popping up to serenade Franklin with a song. Even in sweary memes, Kiryu is the goodest boy.
The meme has been bubbling away for a while, but really taken off since December. To me, the best and nicest is the collision of crime worlds when everyone’s favourite wrestledad stops by to sing Baka Mitai from Yakuza’s karaoke minigame. Yakuza is kinda ‘what if GTA but not a shower of bastards?’ and bless his heart, Kiryu doesn’t let the new city change him.
As will happen with memes, people have smooshed in so many different things from across pop culture to create variants on the joke. It’s jokes by madlibs, really, a giant jumble of things that will mean nothing to most folks but kill it with their niche audience. Like me, eternally tickled by Kiryu.
Some memesters use the original dialogue, tweaked with effects to fit the new character models. What if they were both Stormtroopers?
Others paste in voice lines from the new characters. What if it was Woody from Toy Story?
God use of Woody crumpling into a ragdoll, there. And some go wild combining memes. What if it was in chunky vintage 3D and everyone was T-posing?
Hit YouTube and you will find so many more. But none are as innocent as good boy Kiryu.
Disclosure: Like half the population of Edinburgh, I have some pals who work at Rockstar.