Fans across the internet have been anxiously awaiting the release of the new crossover fighting game, Jump Force, as its February 15th release date rapidly approaches. The game, which pits characters from popular Shonen Jump series such as Dragon Ball, One Piece, and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure against each other as the fight to save the real world from an invading army, is full of fan service and is meant to honor the 50th anniversary of the manga publishing giant.

One element of fan service prominently featured in Jump Force are pre-fight character interactions. Characters will sometimes share unique pre-fight dialogue, usually highlighting how the world of Jump Force is viewed from the lens of a character’s native world, such as Goku challenging Yusuke Yurameshi to a fight, Jotaro Kujo daring Cell to keep up with the speed of Star Platinum, or Killua Zoldyck wondering if Asta’s confidence is a battle strategy.

One of these interactions, between Dragon Ball Z’s Piccolo and My Hero Academia’s Izuku “Deku” Midoriya, quickly garnered the humorous attentions of fans:

In the scene Deku mistakes Piccolo’s appearance as an indicator that he is a villain, to which Piccolo corrects him:

Deku: A Villain…! I have to protect everyone…!

Piccolo: I’m no villain! I’m a Namekian!

Fans found this exchange humorous as, out of context, it could be interpreted as Deku being racist towards Piccolo due to his skin color and appearance, a behavior uncharacteristic of Deku and generally unseen in modern media. These fans quickly began joking about the interaction, including acting hyperbolically outraged ironically, creating and sharing memes, or sharing ‘historical proof’ of Deku’s racism:

While the intent behind the reactions and call outs was clearly humorous and even a bit satirical, it appears that was unable to distinguish between humor and genuine outrage. On February 12th, ran an article titled “Jump Force’ Tease Has Fans Worried About Racist ‘My Hero Academia’ Scene.”

In the article, author Nick Valdez presented the joke as an actual controversy, including tweets made in jest as evidence that fans were concerned about the apparent racism. In response, some fans turned to openly mocking for their lacking sense of humor, including Iceman Jogeta, whose racist Deku tweet has over 4,000 retweets, 12,000 likes, and has been used as evidence that the outrage is serious:

Another user whose tweet was featured in the article was so baffled by the misuse and mischaracterization of her tweet that she felt the need to clarify the situation for the confused:

What do you make of the “Racist Deku” meme and the reactions to it?