HOME Haruka (Japanese: ほめ春香 or ホメ春香, Hoh-Meh Haruka) is a nickname given to the creepy creature born in Sony’s virtual 3D social gaming platform PlayStation Home in 2009, which is consisting of the avater costunes of Haruka Amami from Namco’s video game series THE iDOLM@STER. Many fanarts and video remixes inspired by her creepness have been uploaded to Nico Nico Douga (NND) and pixiv.
In February 10th, 2009, as a part of an advert campaign for a new video game for PlayStation Potable “THE iDOLM@STER SP”, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan announced about the release of the special items of THE iDOLM@STER on PlayStation Home from the 12th of that month. It made fans so excited, and they were agog over the items because THE iDOLM@STER series hadn’t be released for PS3 console yet in those days and it was the first appearance of the game series on that console.
However, screenshots in the announcement disappointed devotees so much. In there, an expressionless Haruka Amami with a strange body shape was just standing creepy.
The special items were Haruka Amami’s face mask and her costumes for avatars. Developers explained that this cheapness was a homage to plastic masks which are sold on street stalls at Japanese festivals.
The creepiness of this avatar costumes soon made a headline among game fans and was accepted as an epic FAIL. Some heartless internet users who blew the game console war set her to the subject of mockery against PS3. And this Haruka descneded to PlayStation Home became to be called Home Haruka with much dishonorable nuance.
Meanwhile, her creepiness also inspired the other Japanese internet users with creative mind. A NND user tyb uploaded her dancing movie creating from the screenshots on the following day. Another NND user named SebastianP created Home Haruka’s character model and it was imported to Miku Miku Dance (MMD) immediately. A surrealistic skit video made by this model on the 14th on that month.
The concept of Home Haruka shown on those videos shared among other people. They began creating the videos and illustrations of creepy and lunatic Home Haruka with their own renditions, and the personality of Home Haruka as a creature was established on the web by their works, which was splitted from the personality of Haruka Amami herself. It’s described in the articles on Nico Nico Pedia and pixiv Encyclopedia, internet encyclopedias in both services.
As of April 2012, more than 1200 videos related to Home Haruka are uploaded to NND and more than 180 illustrations are uploaded to pixiv. In addition, Home Haruka is counted as one of the three popular creatures (御惨家, Gosanke) which include KimeeMaru, a derivative of Yukkuri, and Shiteyanyo on NND and pixiv.
Team Home Haruka
Some of PlayStation Home users addicted to her formed the team named Team Home Haruka (ホメ春香隊, Hoh-meh Haruka Tai), and have joined virtual online concerts of THE iDOLM@STER or held virtual flash mob in that platform with the costumes. The surrealistic sight of the audience dressing up as Home Haruka are uploaded to the web and enjoyed by many people. The most popular gathering among them is the birthday event for her held on every February 11th.
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