The June Archive and Restoration Project
I recently have come across the most impressive horror series I've seen in a long time.
It's best to go into this series as blind as possible, but some context and history will really improve what you get out of it. It's based on the culture around Flipnote Hatena (Flipnote Studio in the US). It was a program for the DSi that allowed anyone to create and share animations with each other. A very unique culture of highly talented people developed there until the service shut down on May 31, 2013 despite being popular.
If you are familiar with it, you can jump right in. I suggest watching in upload order.
The June Archive and Restoration Project (Youtube)
If not, I suggest watching these videos as a primer on what sort of content was popular on the service. It's a lot, but they're short.
This is one of those things that's better to watch without spoilers (once you have the proper context). If at any point this looks interesting, I highly encourage you go watch before continuing to read.
The series is an unreal fiction story with arg elements based on Flipnote Hatena (Flipnote Studio). It builds off of the impressive culture that was created there to create a narrative that mixes elements of cosmic horror and the boundries of reality. We watch characters from famous Flipnotes watching their world collapse and change around them as they're caught in the middle of forces outside their control.
What impresses me most is how seamlessly they manage to cross over the works of multiple different creators. It feels very organic and captures the original creativity of what was on Flipnote.
The animation is also highly impressive. They manage to replicate the styles of each animator perfectly. The original animation is amazing too.
The horror elements are presented so much better than most other horror series do. It's not just "spooky stuff happens because it's spooky". What it throws at you feels very original and fits seamlessly into the world it's showing. You can actually follow along and understand why that stuff is happening, making it not feel pointless like so many other series do.
It feels like it's giving the viewer way more information about what's actually happening than is usual in these series. Yet somehow, there's still so many questions to answer.
From here on are some loose thoughts about the series.
Each flipnote is its own world where the characters inside live.
Flipnote's services shut down on May 31, 2013. It's called the June Archive because it is documenting what happened on the month after Flipnote's services shut down.
Fizz the Cat is part of a race that has above average powers. The clockwork cat in the doomsday city is another one, or a technology created by the race. Perhaps a time control device which allows them to move back in time to find these Flipnotes.
Fizz is looking for either: a way out to rescue the Flipnotes; or find something that was trapped inside.
In the second theory, whatever was trapped inside may have been the reason Flipnote shut down. To contain whatever was trying to escape.
These videos are also available on Sudomemo, uploaded by CerealBowl. I'm almost certain they are the original creator. They've been leaving comments on people's spin-offs. (Comments had to be illustrated on Flipnote.)
I need to figure out how to download things from there so I can mess around with layers and look for more hidden things.
In which I quickly jot down my scattered thoughts on each video.
Shows the Flipnote Hatena frog signing a song before glitching out on the line "time so short". They attempt to jump away, then ends with them as a realistic looking dead frog.
The original animation is one of many made about the end of flipnote studio.
The Day Hatena Died / Flipnote Hatena
Flipnote ID: A2G5XH
This could be a failed attempt at extracting a character from Flipnote. The ending frog is realistic because they were transitioning to the real world, but this process ended up corrupting them; killing them.
This paragraph in the description is important:
Usually we would consider this corrupted data a lost cause if it wasn't for one flipnote that has all its data intact. It raises a more questions than it answers, and it brings into question the authenticity of the other ppm files in the collection, as well as their upload date.
Was Fizz the one Flipnote still intact, and is now trying to rebuild the world?
In the order on Sudomemo, this one came after the Mario video.
Flipnote ID: DGS4KC
Mario runs out of time, like the server time.
First glimpse we get of the city. This shows the state of the flipnote world is an apocolype with red sky and a giant mechanical floating clockwork cat in the sky.
The mechanical cat could be something distorting time and space causing the flipnotes to corrupt and merge. Remember time is not guarunteed to be linear.
Start of the next flipnote is stuck into the end, suggesting the flipnote's worlds are colliding. There could be an external force corrupting it intentionally.
The line "your friends are not more" is a sentement many flipnote users felt when the service was shut down. Many people made friends on the platform, and after it suddenly shut down, had no way of contacting them.
"F___ you, Nintendo" by CS Ghost Animation, talking about the shutdown.
H002: Oh boy, my favorite seat!
Flipnote ID: FQRB67
This is probably just a silly video, but if this is the original creator, then since they've been animating themselves, they exist in the Flipnote universe. That would be how Fizz came to take control as mentioned in Y008b.
Flipnote ID: B62ZQF
Continues from the ending we saw in the previous video (Y002). It starts normal before quickly turning to the desolate city scape from the previous video.
The time is roughly 11:27. Midnight, perhaps? Moments before Flipnote is to shut down?
One of the characters becomes possesed. They talk about how "they" grew up, moved on. Perhaps talking about the flipnote users.
The character changes to a long haired cloaked figure. They ask why the stick figure character still lives in the past, before the giant cat clock in the sky chimes.
The flipnotes cannot exist in the present since the server shut down.
When the clock begins to chime, the world to begins corrupting. Can we assume the cat clock is responsible for causing it?
When the character clutches their head, they split in two. Suddenly the animation style changes and they are in the flipnote "The Hot Dog".
The Hot Dog
Y004: Archive Announcement 1!
Flipnote ID: M8SLRT
Introduces the cat character Fizz, who is heading the archive project and restoration.
Reveals they are looking for something, but does not say what.
During the message in the second half of the video, they display some power and ability to distort the world. They break their own neck with a smile, showing us that they have no need for self preservation. They are fine again in Archive Announcement 2, making us believe that they are unkillable.
The cat may be part of a race similar to Kyubey in Madoka Magica. They could be one of many, or otherwise some very powerful entity.
Y005: E46402_14F62365E17E6_000.ppm, The June Archive #3
Introduces the character Starface, which we can assume is the character that reaches through Kirby's monitor and grabs his face, sucking off his face and leaving a star shaped hole.
Stars were a for of "likes" on the Flipnote platform. This creature, Starface, may have been living inside to feed off of or use these stars for power.
The Kirby series is known for having stars as a recurring theme.
At the end shows a Weegie beside a with "Press [square] to remember". To play, you pause while the wheel is spinning and see what it lands on. The option "Add 573 stars" is blue, which I'm unsure the significance of other than being the highest number of stars.
Y006: 390DE2_14FEEFF8F522C_000.ppm, The June Archive #4
Flipnote ID: JNUTPC
Characters are beginning to realise they are trapped. They're also looking for a way out.
A clock continues ticking in the background. "27 minutes have passed". Since when? The shutdown? The clock seems to be the same sime as in video Y003.
They're surrounded by a dark void. It's alive, with eyes and teeth. The same one we saw in the second video. Could be the opposing force to Fizz's race.
The animation style changes at the end.
The very end shows the numbers 0 through 9 and the alphabet, with the letter "R" missing. A comment on the video suggests it's for "Remember", which got hearted by the channel (though to be fair, the channel hearts a lot of comments).
A sudomemo commenter says "On the letters turn off layer 1" F86. I'll have to look into this later to see how it works. Another commentor said something about when the guy says "hello".
Original Sudomemo archive
Flipnote ID: SL8HQR
OMG it's the one I linked earlier!
It starts very similar with a few additions. A line is changed to "remember", which leads to the transition to the city.
Touches on the service shutting down again. Connecting themes between what death and reality are.
More overtly shows that June is what came after the shutdown date, explaining the name of the channel.
We see the same guy in a cape from video 003 at the lemonade stand. Some comments suggest he is the villain from some stick fight animations. That Guy Names Rai points to this video.
Stick Fight Flipnote by King Pero
Memory is the key to reality. If it burns down and no one remembers it was there, it's almost as if there was nothing there to begin with.
Then, unlocked a vial of blood? Do not destroy? Comment suggested it looks like the Swapnote ink meter, which limited how much "drawing" could be sent in a Swapnote. Swapnote was a different Nintendo service that also shut down.
Given what was just said, perhaps the memories are stored in these vials.
The video descriptions keep refering to time quite heavily.
Y008: Archive Announcement 2
Flipnote ID: RYHCFQ
An update from Frizz. He says "today is June 1st", and I realize the channel started on April 12th, 2022. Not long before June.
Fuzz gets a call from himself. Perhaps it's not another entity, but another side of Fizz. He explains that he does want to turn back time, and change something.
Fizz is corrupting too.
There's hidden letters through the video.
(Also remove the last from black layer.)
When put in put in spacial order it becomes
The second part then resolves to a hidden Youtube video.
Y008b: DSi Safety Parody 2 by SnowyOwl
In the description, Fizz admits to more.
The team thought they could manage me.
Now I manage them.
Would you like to be a team member?
Oh, who am I kidding?
At this point, you already are!!
This could be admitting to what happened in H002.
The video itself is a guide on "How To Protect Yourself From A Memory Virus".
The video explains what this means very clearly.
Memory having already been a key theme, something could be using this project to try and stay alive. The insistence on remembering would encourage the virus to spread.
This memory parasite might be why Nintendo had to shut down the servers.
Y009: N83E17_151713E97C696_000.ppm, The June Archive #6
Flipnote ID: PW8E4L
The animation suddenly jumps to an impressive level of quality.
We see the cat clock initiate a transfer of the character in this video. The vials from before are here. The character fails to grab one.
Y010: Z83E17_1517E6FECAD1D_030.ppm, The June Archive #7
Flipnote ID: 7DYTA9
The cat clock takes about 30 minutes to recharge. I think he's been forcing all the characters inside the flipnotes to experience the same last half hour for the past 9 years.
Stick fighter has joined the battle.
The song "I can walk on water, I can fly" plays, just like time can fly from the first video.
I Can Walk On Water I Can Fly - Jerm [Flipnote]
10. Basshunter - I Can Walk On Water
Corrupted text at the beginning:
IJLHEJSH ZO ZUJVJS:
APH IZ JBBPHB MHRZSA
RZP LFR SHWHU UHIPUS
IZ ICIB IJLH
I haven't had a chance yet to check if this is a cipher.
It's a simple substitution cipher.
TIMELINE OF ORIGIN:
DUE TO ISSUES BEYOND
YOU MAY NEVER RETURN
TO THTS TIME
Some letters were not used, so this key is not complete. Unlikely this key will get used again, but it should be enough to figue things out if it is.
Ugomemo Hatena was the name of the service in Japan, shown in the following url.
This confirms that they are not moving the Flipnotes to another service like Sudomemo, but that their intended destination is Earth.
Banana phone reference.
pichu banana phone flipnote
PuristN on Reddit found the origin of Fuzz the Cat in a Flipnote dating back all the way to 2011!
Fuzz was not created specifically for this series. They are as native of a character to Flipnote as any other character!
There's also this video from 2019 of the creator letting go of the past and the characters they created.
In the description the creator states,
It's been a good 8 years of Fuzz and friends as they are and were, but looking back I feel the past should stay in the past. I want to start anew and I feel that it wouldn't be fair without one last hurrah to my childhood's favorite white cat.
Notice especially "I feel the past should stay in the past" because this is a theme that the series deals heavily with.
In the video itself, he doesn't exactly say goodbye to his character. When Fuzz asks what will happen to them, the creator says "Oh, you'll live on. Just differently." and "See you around, pal" while gazing up at a star (remember stars are important). Implying Fuzz would still be around.
I don't think Fuzz took this goodbye well. They did what they could to cling to existance and begin clawing their way back to reality. They took over the creator to begin influencing reality so they could transition to Earth.