POP Profile: The Guy Behind The Viral Phenomenon “Nyan Cat”

Entertainment, Funny, POP Profiles, POP Spotlight, POP Video, Say What?, Trends, Wild Wild Web — By on 2011/04/19 5:05 pm

 

It almost defies explanation: a cartoon cat with a POP-Tart body, flying through a starry sky, leaving a rainbow trail, and meowing a happy tune. Simple enough, right? Then try and explain how in less than a month it has gotten more than a million views, spawned multiple imitators, and become part of the pop culture lexicon.

In what may be a surprise even to the image’s creator, the reaction across the web has been nothing short of amazing. It started out as “Pop Tart Cat” – but the internet world named it ‘Nyan Cat’ – (‘Nyan’ is the word Japanese culture uses for ‘meow.’) And it all started in early April with a doodle. Here’s my interview with 25 year old Christopher Torres from Dallas, Texas - the guy who created the original image – on how it all began.

 When did you create it? What started it all?

It’s kind of a huge fluke how it all started. A few weeks ago I was doing a donation drive for the Red Cross and in-between drawings in my Livestream video chat, two different people mentioned I should draw a “Pop Tart” and a “cat”. In a joking manner I created this hybrid image:

 

This was either the end of March or very beginning of April. A few days later I randomly decided to do some pixel art, and Pop Tart Cat was the first thing that came to mind.

How long did it take to create? Did you also write and sing the song? It took about three to four hours to create. I’m really new at making pixel art so I had some difficulties in animation, but am very happy with the result. I did not have anything to do with the song. (In the background, a UTAU cover of the popular Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya song loops over and over again.) Credit for that goes to this person. (The song is) extremely popular in Japan right now for different reasons, but wasn’t really too popular in the US until Nyan Cat took over.

Tell me about the name.    Originally, its name was Pop Tart Cat, and I will continue to call it so, but the Internet has reached a decision to name it Nyan Cat, and I’m happy with that choice, too.

Is there an inspiration for the cat? It does have the cuteness that you see in a lot of Japanese animation.

The only inspiration behind Pop Tart / Nyan Cat is my own cat, Marty. I had no other ideas in mind other than fusing a cat and a pop tart together. It’s all original :) !

From your point of view, when did it take off? When did you notice this was taking on a life of its own? About three or four days after I initially posted it on my website, I got word that it was out on G4′s Attack of the show, a television show focusing on video game/Internet culture. Minutes later, I found the source on Youtube. A lady named Saraj00n decided to take my GIF and the song and put them together in a 3 minute song. I also found out on the same day that CollegeHumor picked it up, and that’s where things really got going.

(Editor’s note: there’s also a site called Non-Stop Nyan Cat… which tracks how many seconds you can watch and listen…)

What was your goal when you created it?   

Honestly, it was just going to be a cute little animation to post on my website. I had no big plans other than turning it into an animated avatar for myself so I could use it in some forums. I’m actually lucky to have saved all of the original files, because I don’t normally do that!

What is the most unique or strange response you’ve gotten from the video?

No joke, but someone yesterday asked me if they could draw porn of it! I really hope they are joking :(

What do your friends think of all this?

They all love it, and I’m glad they do. Nyan Cat has also introduced me to a bunch of new friends and hopefully things will keep getting better!

More than 1 million views!! Are you making money on it yet? What are your plans?

I’m so surprised it’s jumped up to 1 million views in such a short amount of time! Most of the reactions to the video have been positive, as well, which also blows my mind a bit. I really am happy that so many people are enjoying Nyan Cat. I keep hearing all of these stories saying they ran across it through different ways, and I love hearing that. I technically haven’t made any money from it yet, unfortunately, but I was contacted by LevelUpStudios to partner up and make T-Shirts. (Get em here!) Shirt sales are doing extremely well, and a nice portion of that will go to support me. I’m also currently working on an official Nyan Cat video game, which is like a dream come true for me. It’ll feature brand new art and characters and will stay true to the original while offering a fun style of gameplay. On a sad note, though, I’ve noticed people almost immediately creating their own apps or programs featuring my work without permission for their own financial gain. It’s been really tough fighting these issues but I’ve filed a Copyright for Nyan Cat and hopefully that will help. Wish me luck!  :)

Has the phenomenon changed the way you look at your work or how you do what you do?

To be honest, it hasn’t really changed how I view my work. I plan on keeping up my same formula when it comes to making comics and I hope everybody enjoys them just the same. Pop Tart / Nyan Cat started off as a humble little cute animation and I’ll always view it that way. Hopefully this can open new opportunities in my life, and the other people behind the phenomenon that helped make it happen. I wish them luck and success on this, as well!

__________

It’s great to read a success story from someone who seems like a genuinely nice guy! Congratulations Chris!!

 

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91 Comments

  1. elijah moody says:

    cool animation.

  2. I LOVE NYAN CAT

    ___━*━____━━____━__*___━_*__­­­­­­­­­­__╭━━━━╮
    ___*_━━____━━____━━*____━━____­­­­­­­­­­|::::::^━━–^
    ____━━____━*━____━━____━━*____­­­­­­­­­­|:::::|。◕‿‿◕。|
    ____*━___━━_*___━━____*━━____*­­­­­­­­­­ ╰O-O—-OO

  3. alexrockz8 says:

    *Starts* I love this song! *1 minute later* kinda getting annoying *Another minute later* Little more annoying *Another minute later* Very annoying *Ends* FINALLY!
    >:(

  4. juste100 says:

    i <3 nyan cat!

  5. Andrew says:

    How Nyan Cat dies is so awsome!

  6. me says:

    OMG!!!!!!! I love Nyan Cat to pieces!!!!!!!!She is so cute!!!!!!! SQUEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. me says:

    Nyan cat rocks!!!!!!!! I love it!!!!!!!!!

  8. nyan cat says:

    nyannyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyannyannyan nyan nyan nyannyan nyan!

    TRANSLATION:

    somebody told me that a classmate calls me Nanny Cat!

  9. Anonymous says:

    ___━*━____━━____━__*___━_*__­­­­­­­­­­__╭━━━━╮
    ___*_━━____━━____━━*____━━____­­­­­­­­­­|::::::^━━–^
    ____━━____━*━____━━____━━*____­­­­­­­­­­|:::::|。◕‿‿◕。|
    ____*━___━━_*___━━____*━━____*­­­­­­­­­­ ╰O-O—-O-O
    nyan cat rocks!!!!!!!

  10. * Robin * says:

    I can’t wait for the officially licensed plushies to reach stores. I only discovered Nyan Cat about 4 days ago and I’m already psycho-obsessed!

  11. nyan cat says:

    I LOVE YOU TOO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. antonio says:

    nyan cat is awesome it is epic long live nyan!!!!!!
    nyan 4 LIFE

  13. TROLL says:

    HOW LONG CAN YOU NYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYN

  14. nyan cat says:

    nyan!nyan!nyan!nyan!

  15. Potato I'm not telling says:

    Umm I have an importaint question…..
    Why are you people leaving comments saying you dont like nyan cat?
    Why are you on this website if you don’t like it?
    -__-
    if you don’t like something keep it to your self,
    and that could seriously Hurt the ppl that made nyan cat..,,.
    So er….
    Well I like nyan cat…. :)

  16. 666 says:

    nyan cat:)

  17. Mikazuki says:

    Hello you!
    I really like NyanCat! Some of my friends already cosplayed it and my best friend knitted an awesome NyanCat scarf (^∇^)

  18. Captain Kiwi says:

    I LOVE Nyan Cat and this was a really interesting article. I thought it was started by some Japanese animator dude.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I’m a Neyan cat fan too!!!! :)

  20. Spencer says:

    I love nayn cat!

  21. Mimitchi999 says:

    Yeah yeah you can hate Nyan Cat.
    You know what they say!
    Haters Gonna Hate!

  22. Nick says:

    The first few times i heard/saw it i hated it but later i began to like it so… NYAN CAT WINS!

  23. The nyan cat is cool. My brother and I discovered it in Late 2011. This is very original

  24. Ava says:

    Ever since I first watched it… I loved nyan cat! I hope that for my birthday I can get a nyan cat necklace. I am truly a #1 fan of nyan cat. The guy gave credit to everybody who made this possible… And they arn’t giving any credit to him! I can understand if they didn’t read the article, but really. Some of them give credit, but most of them don’t. I truly love all of the nyan cat versions . Especially the guy who makes the nyan movies on YouTube. (nyan cat falls in love, nyan cat vs tac nayn, ect) but I would love them more if they gave credit. Overall, I love nyan cat but I wish somebody would give credit.

  25. Miss piggy says:

    Nyan Cat rules!!!

  26. Princessrainbow123 says:

    I nyan Nyan Cat! Lol!

  27. Anonymous says:

    Nyan cat! play nyan cat lost in space its addidctive :3 nyan love <3333

  28. Charlotte McKaw says:

    ALL NYAN HATERS SHOULD BE AFRAID VERY AFRAID!!! LOL!

  29. Leesar says:

    Heyy luv Nyan Cat it is so cute! Plz give it a chance guyys in fact you should worship that cat!!

  30. Knightsurfer says:

    Would you guys say that its reached over how many hits the ol leekspin thing made? xD

  31. Firebird27 says:

    I love Nyan cat

  32. Hannah says:

    I love Nyan cat

  33. Adil says:

    Scfffvbhbvfcc

  34. Adil says:

    Further dvxvdvbd dvdd

  35. CLASSIFIED says:

    @Brandon dude it wasn’t supposed to make sense that’s the point. stupid stuff is funny especially if you’re smart like me it takes the constant thinking away for a minute so you can just laugh for a little bit; for instance, in Charlie the Unicorn the funny part is supposed to be the two unicorns doing impossible things (of course Charlie’s constant anger at their stupidity also makes it funny) but also it’s not even a cat, it’s a friggen random messed up creature that has a cat’s head and limbs but has a Pop-Tart body and it farts frigging rainbows. How is running in mid-air the only thing you thought was weird???

  36. Miss piggy says:

    LOL I love Nyan cat

  37. Callum says:

    This game is brilliant, don’t see the point in questioning the sense it dosnt make, that’s part of the fun!

  38. Jonathan says:

    I love nyan cat the game it is major addicting and fun for kids all ages

  39. andy tiller (nyan fan) says:

    i think nyan cat is so random and bad that it is good point made!

  40. Brandon says:

    I hated the video I mean why would the cat just be running in midair
    4 3:36 minutes

  41. Anoni says:

    Guys, he gave credit to the people that remixed the song. He gave credit to the girl that turned his gif into a 3 minute song, he admitted that he got the idea from two people that suggested pop tart and cat. Now shut up and stop bitching about him giving credit. And whoever said that the .gif itself was nothing special, youre an idiot. You cant have nyan cat without the poptart-cat. Because then you’d just have the remixed Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya song. Also, if the girl didnt have the song AND the .gif to work with, there would be no Nyan cat. In the end, he gave credit to everyone that made it possible. And of course it’s his creation. The two guys only gave suggestions on what to draw. He drew it. Although he had help, he IS the sole creator of Nyan cat.

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