Reddit is obsessed with Earth-chan, an anime version of Earth

datweirdowholuvsmilk/DeviantArt

Save our Earth-chan! Please recycle!

She’s an adorable schoolgirl with blue-and-green hair. She’s fragile and often wears a surgical mask due to an unspecified illness. She’s really into recycling. And whatever the kids at school say, she is not flat!!! She’s Earth-chan, an anime representation of the planet Earth, and meme-makers on Reddit are obsessed with protecting her.

earth chan with iv bag and nasa shirt datweirdowholuvsmilk/DeviantArt

Earth-chan began life as a throwaway Twitter joke about a common trope in anime and manga. The “pettanko” is a small-chested girl who’s fixated on her breast size. Sometimes she’s proud of it, but often she’s embarrassed and will take offense at anyone calling her “flat.”

When you combine that with this year’s resurgence of the thoroughly debunked “flat Earth” theory, you get Earth-chan—the Earth insisting she’s not, in fact, flat.

@Trinimmortal created the character in this Nov. 30 tweet:

and @felipecunhaeloi responded on Dec. 4 with this drawing of Earth-chan, establishing her as having a short, blue-green hairstyle:

Soon, though, Earth-chan became more than a throw-away joke character. She became a… recycled joke character. Or at least a character who loves recycling.

On Reddit’s anime memes subreddit, r/animemes, it’s all Earth-chan all the time right now. Fan art and memes of the character are everywhere, and she’s become someone the subreddit wants to nurture and protect. Memers have fleshed out the original “flat” gag by adding the environmentalist trope that Earth-chan is sick and needs us to save her—from both bullying and pollution.

Earth-chan memes are fairly split between flat Earth jokes and the campaign to “protecc” everyone’s favorite new moe character. (“Moe” refers to a cute fictional character that fans love and adore, but don’t lust after. Moe characters are often, but not always, anthropomorphized girl versions of some non-human object.)

earth chan being flat chested is a status symbol oryouohagi/Reddit

earth chan please recycle pikachonggo/Reddit

pledge to protect earth chan holofan4life/Reddit

protest to protect earth-chan flexing_rhino/Reddit

do it for her earth-chan esskido/Reddit

Some fans on r/animemes and DeviantArt have even expanded the Planet-chan anime concept with drawings of the other planets. And the Sun, who is possibly a teacher in this universe. DeviantArt poster DatWeirdoWhoLuvsMilk is responsible for some of the most popular and elaborate concept art in the fandom.

pluto-chan fan art scrapdog20/Reddit

anime solar system girl chans datweirdowholuvsmilk/DeviantArt

solar system girl chans jupiter chan datweirdowholuvsmilk/DeviantArt

The Planet-chans are part of a long meme tradition of personifying concepts, brands, or objects as anime characters. This is a logical extension of anime series like Hetalia: Axis Powers, which anthropomorphizes the countries who fought World War II, or Kancolle, where various types of naval warship are personified as cute girls.

In the meme world, we’ve seen fast food brands and TV networks turned into characters. Google’s Go-playing AI even got a  feminine anime makeover.

Earth-chan is just the latest, cutest one of these characters to inspire devotion from fans, and she’s really putting Reddit’s animemes community on the map. A map of herself, I guess, because she is Earth. Weird.

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