Bad Apple!!

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"Bad Apple!!"
Cover art of Lotus Land Story
Song by ZUN
Released14 August 1998 (14 August 1998)
GenreElectronic, chiptune
LabelZUN Soft

"Bad Apple!!" is the sixth track in the soundtrack of the 1998 bullet hell video game Lotus Land Story, the fourth entry in the Touhou Project series created by Team Shanghai Alice. The instrumental theme was originally designed to be played during the third stage of the game, as chiptune on the Japanese NEC PC-9800 computer platform, at 161 beats per minute using a frequency modulation synthesis chip.[1] The Lotus Land Story version that has more than 1.4 million views on YouTube[2] is a remake of the song from an official Touhou album named Akyu's Untouched Score Volume 1 and was released on the 21st of May, 2006.

It is notable for leading to a much later cover by Alstroemeria Records and a subsequent accompanying black-and-white shadow puppet-video – commonly called Shadow-art. The video became a Japanese internet meme in the late 2000s, correlating with the peak of Touhou's popularity, and experienced a resurgence in the mid-2010s when the black-and-white video was ported to esoteric media such as obsolete hardware, displays created within sandbox video games (e.g. Minecraft), and other unusual media (such as a mechanical television[3]) as a graphical test. As of October 2023, it has achieved more than 80 million views on YouTube.[4]

Since then, Alstroemeria Records' version has been licensed to various other video game companies that acquired a Touhou licence, and has been guest featured in many rhythm games such as Groove Coaster, Muse Dash and maimai. It has even been used in officially licensed spin-offs such as Touhou Spell Bubble as the game's tutorial track and free play song.

Pop song[edit]

"Bad Apple!!"
Song by Alstroemeria Records featuring nomico
Released20 May 2007 (20 May 2007) (Reitaisai 4)
GenreJ-pop, electronic
3:39 (Music video edit)
Producer(s)Masayoshi Minoshima

On 20 May 2007, the day of the 4th Reitaisai convention, a longer cover version featuring the Japanese singer nomico was released on the album Lovelight by the doujin circle Alstroemeria Records, led by Masayoshi Minoshima.[5] It shared little similarity with the original soundtrack, borrowing only a little of melody samples, but nonetheless it was notable as being the only vocal song in the album, and for its lyrics dealing with depression and apathy.[6]

From May 2017 to August 2018, Alstroemeria Records released a series of 10th Anniversary Bad Apple!! albums consisting entirely of remixes and covers of their version of "Bad Apple!!".[7][8][9]

Music video[edit]

On June 8, 2008, a user from Nico Nico Douga uploaded a video of a crude storyboard based on Alstroemeria Records' version, asking for anyone to animate it.[10] Several animation videos started appearing, with relatively few successes.[11][12][6]

Between October 2008 and October 2009, a collaborative group led by Anira (Japanese: あにら) created a shadow-art (black and white) animation video based on the storyboard, which was released on Nico Nico on 26 October 2009.[13][5] It quickly grew in popularity as an internet meme – as of September 2018, the original Nico Nico upload had been viewed more than 26 million times[14][10] and a YouTube reupload more than 80 million.[15] The video itself shows many of the Windows-era Touhou Project characters up to Scarlet Weather Rhapsody as they transition between one another.[6]

On May 21, 2020, the animation by the group Anira became the official music video and was released by Alstroemeria Records.[16]

Use as a graphical and audio test[edit]

The song saw a rise in popularity in the mid-2010s, when the shadow-art video was ported to several second-generation video game consoles and graphing calculators – presumed to be incapable of playing back full-motion video – for retrocomputing demoscene competitions. In this way, the video became a graphical equivalent to "Hello, World!" programs.[17]

  • In June 2014, the "8088 Domination" demo included a section rendering the "Bad Apple!!" shadow video on an 1981-era IBM 5150 at 640×200 resolution and 30 frames per second.[18][19]
  • In June 2014, about two minutes of "Bad Apple!!" have been ported to the Commodore 64 as 2000 frames at 12 frames per second on a single side diskette.[20]
  • By 2015, "Bad Apple!!" had been ported to the 1982 Vectrex console;[21][22] along with ports to the 1977–Atari 2600, 1985–Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), 1988–Sega Genesis, and Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus series graphing calculators.[21]
  • In 2017, fenarinarsa released an Atari STE demo rendering the video at 320×200 resolution at 30 fps with 50 kHz audio.[23][24]
  • In 2019, Stéphane Hockenhull programmed an Arduino Mega to render the video (without sound) at 128×176 resolution and 60 fps.[25]
  • In 2020, an Amiga AGA demo was released at the NOVA2020 demoparty.[26]

Usages in meme culture[edit]

Besides the above, "Bad Apple!!" has also been re-created through unconventional methods as an internet meme, including through stop motion cutout animation, mods within the video game Minecraft, and laser light shows.[27] In 2023, users of the Touhou Project, Osu! and Hatsune Miku subreddits collaborated to recreate "Bad Apple!!" on Reddit's r/place canvas, during its 2023 event.[28][29]


  1. ^ "東方幻想郷" [Bad Apple!!]. Toho Music database (in Japanese). Retrieved 21 September 2019. BPM: 160.73 (TimerB:202); 拍子: 4/4拍子; 再生時間: 1:22; 調性: 【0:04~】変ホ短調(E♭m), 【0:58~】ト短調(Gm); 使用楽器: 矩形波、@54、@74、@99、@101、@181、ドラム音
  2. ^ LLS Stage 3 Theme: Bad Apple!!, retrieved 8 November 2022
  3. ^ "Touhou - Bad Apple! on 18-line Arduino Mechanical TV (30 FPS)" – via
  4. ^ 【東方】Bad Apple!! PV【影絵】, retrieved 14 March 2023
  5. ^ a b "Bad Apple!!". Know Your Meme. 14 August 2010. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Bad Apple Explained: History and Analysis. Megapig9001. 20 July 2020. Archived from the original on 31 July 2021. Retrieved 4 August 2021 – via YouTube.
  7. ^ "10th Anniversary Bad Apple!!". Touhou Wiki. Released: 2017-05-07 (Reitaisai 14); Tracks: 11
  8. ^ "10th Anniversary Bad Apple!! PHASE 2". Touhou Wiki. Released: 2017-12-29 (Comiket 93); Tracks: 11
  9. ^ "10th Anniversary Bad Apple!! PHASE 3". Touhou Wiki. Released: 2018-08-10 (Comiket 94); Tracks: 23
  10. ^ a b "【Uploader want to watch】Bad Apple!! PV【Please someone picturize it】". Nico Nico Douga. 8 June 2008. Archived from the original on 27 August 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  11. ^ "【東方】Bad Apple!! PV を描いてみた。ver.1.1【線画だけ】". Nico Nico Douga (in Japanese). 21 September 2008. Archived from the original on 1 October 2008.
  12. ^ yange (8 November 2008). "【東方】Bad Apple!! ~ver.short~ PV【完成版】". Nico Nico Douga (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 28 February 2021. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  13. ^ あにら (27 October 2009). "【Touhou Project】"Bad Apple!! feat. nomico" – Silhouette PV" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 30 October 2009 – via Niconico.
  14. ^ "これは便利! 霊夢・魔理沙etc…『Bad Apple!!』PVに影絵で登場する東方幻想郷メンバーをまとめてみた" (in Japanese). 14 September 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2021. As of the time of writing [2018], it has been viewed more than 26 million times.
  15. ^ "【東方】Bad Apple!! PV【影絵】". YouTube. 27 October 2009. Retrieved 3 November 2022.
  16. ^ "[Alstroemeria Records]Bad Apple!! feat.nomico(Shadow Animation Version)[ACVS.008_Tr.00]". 21 May 2020. Archived from the original on 6 January 2024. Retrieved 6 January 2024 – via Youtube.
  17. ^ Dell, Peter (2018). "Bad Apple HD". WUDSN. Retrieved 21 December 2019. Bad Apple advanced to the modern "Hello World" for the retro computing demoscene. It has been converted to even the most obscure platforms including Atari VCS and Vectrex.
  18. ^ Pardo, Lisandro (23 June 2014). "8088 Domination: Vídeo full motion en una IBM PC" [8088 Domination: Full motion video on an IBM PC]. Neoteo (in Spanish). Retrieved 21 September 2019.
  19. ^ Benchoff, Brian (21 June 2014). "(Better) Full Motion Video on the First PC". Hackaday. Retrieved 22 December 2019. display video at 640×200 resolution at 30 frames per second on a 30-year-old computer. … playing the 'Bad Apple' animation on an 8088.
  20. ^ "Bad Apple 64 – A mighty impressive C64 demo!". 30 June 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2020. over 2000 frames packed to a single disk, with each frame packed to around 70 bytes and running at 12fps streaming fully from disk
  21. ^ a b Williams, Carl (16 July 2015). "Bad Apple Ported to the Vectrex, Something that Should Technically not be Possible". Retro Gaming Magazine. Archived from the original on 8 January 2021. Retrieved 21 September 2019. Bad Apple has also hit the Sega Genesis … Bad Apple hitting the Atari 2600? The Nintendo Entertainment System? Texas Instruments 84+? … Bad Apple has been ported to all of those platforms
  22. ^ Fabio, Theodora (24 April 2015). "Extreme Vectrex Multicart Plays Bad Apple". Hackaday. Retrieved 19 September 2019. audio was possible by having the Vectrex's 8-bit DA-converter perform double duty both for the video circuit and the audio. … volume must be turned to the max … DAC can only output audio in this scenario when vectors are not being drawn,
  23. ^ Gray, Richard. "Bad Apple!!". Retrieved 11 February 2022.
  24. ^ Gray, Richard. "Bad Apple!! by Fenarinarsa". pouë Retrieved 11 February 2022.
  25. ^ Day, Lewin (8 January 2019). "Bad Apple!! Via The Arduino Mega". Hackaday. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  26. ^ "You Mad, Apple?". 5 June 2020.
  27. ^ "Bad Apple!!". Know Your Meme. 14 August 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2023.
  28. ^ Glaze, Virginia (24 July 2023). "r/place recreates iconic Bad Apple music video with jaw-dropping timelapse". Dexerto. Retrieved 11 November 2023.
  29. ^ Maik (27 July 2023). "In r/place 2023 wurde ein komplettes Musikvideo mit Pixeln animiert". Langweiledich (in German). Archived from the original on 27 July 2023.
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