With the return of the Pop Team Epic anime last year, the “Hellshake Yano” meme is now back at the forefront of everyone’s mind. AC-bu, creators of the original sketch, returned for the second season to present a new Hellshake Yano story. And in a new surreal twist, the official Hellshake Yano Twitter account posted a video on Tuesday of the two-time Grammy Award Winning artist Thundercat strumming a cutout of the Hellshake Yano guitar.
— Hellshake YANO（ヘル矢） (@Yano99279690) January 3, 2023
The tweet reached the attention of Pop Team Epic manga creator Bkub Okawawho commented: “Is this real?! Hellshake Yano is amazing!”
Thundercat‘s fondness for Pop Team Epic is no secret. His favorite singer in Japan is Sumire Uesakawho sang the opening theme song for Pop Team Epic‘s first season. Last May, Uesaka visited Thundercat in his studio while he was on a visit to Japan, and the two gushed about each other on social media.
On Tuesday, AC-bu also showed off a video of themselves playing a replica of Hellshake Yano’s guitar. Music store Apollon Music created the model.
— AC部【公式】 (@ACbu_official) January 3, 2023
Hellshake Yano refers to an iconic skit from the seventh episode of the anime’s first season, titled “Hellshake Yano.” Popuko talks to Pipimi, but Pipimi zones out. Pipimi daydreams about a band member named Yano whose bandmates suddenly can’t make it to an imminent concert because the trains stopped. Yano’s manager wants to cancel the show, but Yano decides to go on stage and wow the crowd with his guitar skills alone. Unfortunately, Yano breaks a guitar string during his solo. Yano doesn’t want to give up, so he uses the five remaining strings and then tunes his guitar to make it work. Yano’s manager remarks that Yano’s performance is “rocking the heart of hell.” Yano acquires the name Hellshake Yano, and the crowd continues to go wild at his performances. Suddenly, Pipimi snaps out of it as Popuko asks her if she’s listening. Pipimi apologizes and says, “I was thinking about Hellshake Yano.” This caused the phrase “I was thinking about Hellshake Yano” to trend on Twitter.
There was a time when everyone was thinking about Hellshake Yano. It was one of the biggest buzzwords of 2018, and its creators even brought their rock and roll character to the Animelo multi-day concert. Even the Sanrio mascot, Cinnamoroll, made a reference to it on his Twitter account.