Last weekend, a Japanese television broadcast of classic Studio Ghibli anime Castle in the Sky prompted more than 11,349 tweets per second at a key moment in the movie. This perfect storm of tweets broke the previous record of 8,868 tweets per second after pop star Beyonce announced she was pregnant.
Over at Kotaku, there’s an in-depth explanation of how an animated movie released in 1986 could create such a flurry of tweets, but it boils down to this: there’s been a longstanding custom to write or say the word “balse” during a specific scene in the film. In recent years, the tradition has found its way to Twitter, and the popularity of the flashmob-like “Balse Festival” hit a peak during last weekend’s showing of the film.
Previous airings of Castle in the Sky have wreaked havoc on some of Japan’s most prominent websites, but Twitter weathered the storm and emerged with a new record-holder.