Ready Player One is about to hit theaters, and audiences are ready to see how the geek-centric show goes. The big release is prepared to hype audiences of all ages, and anime lovers are eager to see how much otaku culture comes into play. If you checked out the film already, then you definitely saw how much Ready Player One leaned into anime, and shonen fans were in for a huge surprise at the end.
After all, the movie left off with its hero trying to charge up an attack that looks just like a Kamehameha.
Towards the end of Ready Player One, audiences watched as its lead Perzival goes up against the crooked head of IOI Nolan Sorrento. The pair find themselves fighting as a war wages outside of James Halliday’s final challenge. While the Sixers try to get the Crystal Key, Sorrento’s avatar clashes with Perzival in a desperate battle, and it is around that time the hero tries to blast the corporate baddie to bits.
Fans watched as Perzival took a step back, bringing his hands to cup at his side as he twisted his body. A sphere of blue ethereal energy began to gather in his hand, and the boy began to say something starting with “Ka” before he was knocked over. The attack was broken before it ever got the chance to break free, and Ready Player One continued with its battle as planned.
The blink-and-miss moment will take fans by surprise because of the book doesn’t actually feature a Kamehameha or Dragon Ball nod. Anime does factor into the story on multiple occasions, but author Earnest Cline refrained from name-dropping the attack in full. This tidbit has some wondering if Perzival was actually trying to charge a Hadouken from Street Fighter, but that attack isn’t brought up specifically either. And, with the attacks being so similar, it is impossible to tell if what could have been.
Other have wondered about the Kamehameha’s usage because of licensing restrictions, but Warner Bros. has its way around such things. Even if Toei Company did not agree to the share, the studio didn’t technically include the Ki blast by name. Perzival wasn’t able to see the attack through or utter its full name, nulling most licensing snafus with its ambiguous inclusion. While the attack looked very familiar to Dragon Ball fans, its wide-open interpretation covers Warner Bros. from major legal concerns on the off-chance Toei nixed licensing negotiations.
It may be difficult to tell whether the nod was a specific Kamehameha or Hadouken reference given its super-short appearance, but it does show fans one thing. The energy blast looked pretty sweet for the brief moment it took up the screen, giving fans a taste of what a live-action Kamehameha could look like. Dragonball Evolution may have soured audiences to adaptations, but Warner Bros. definitely has the tech to bring Master Roshi's homemade move to life these days. So, if Toei Company wants to take another swing as Goku in real life, the firm knows who to call.
So, what's your call? Was this a hidden Kamehameha? Or a Hadouken in disguise? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics, k-pop, and anime!