Okay, so as PT’s guides editor and resident Hoyo obsessive, much of my life is dedicated to Honkai Star Rail. I spend my days editing, checking, writing, and updating build guides for Honkai Star Rail characters, staring at stats until I go cross-eyed, and theorizing about our next stop on the Astral Express.
Then, when I clock out for the day, I log on to Genshin and HSR, go through my dailies, complete any events, grind relics/artifacts – all that exciting stuff. So imagine my surprise when, after a long day of Trailblazing, I settle on the couch in front of the TV and open YouTube to find a good video to switch off to, and I see a Honkai Star Rail ad. It’s like I can’t escape. My veins are full of stellar jades, my brain a soup of stats and team comps, and when I open my mouth, nothing but the OST falls out.
Now, I wouldn’t mind too much if the ads actually made sense. Hoyoverse has a wealth of brilliant trailers and character demos to showcase the vibrant and exciting worlds of Genshin Impact and Honkai Star Rail – I would know, as I’m there at every livestream, promotional Tweet, and HoyoLab post.
They’ve done it before, like the cute animation showcase for babygirl Genshin Impact’s Kaveh and the animated version of the heart-melting Honkai Star Rail Natasha’s light cone. But instead, we’re met with Genshin Impact’s Traveler silently claiming rewards from a Leyline Blossom. And then there are the random streamer clips.
While I’ve never watched his streams myself, I’m sure Doro44 is a stand-up guy – I’m happy that he’s sponsored by Genshin, and my beef certainly isn’t with him. But (and it’s a big ol’ butt), if I have to listen to ‘I love the combat, the animations are amazing, this game’s awesome, I love it’ one more time as Honkai Star Rail’s Jing Yuan walks around the Xianzhou Luofu aimlessly, I might just jump off the edge of the Divination Commission just like Kafka and Blade. And don’t get me started on ‘awwww, having trouble breaking those little minerals?’ – leave my sweet Xiao alone, he’s doing his best.
But, little did I know, those out-of-context clips that don’t really offer much to new players are far from the weirdest ad choices Hoyoverse is making. Yep, it’s time. The Waifu Express has pulled into the station, and it’s about to drag you into an anime montage where you learn the power of friendship.
The first time I saw that… Rather unusual version of Caelus cradled in Honkai Star Rail March 7th’s arms, yelling about the ‘Waifu Express’, I sat in a kind of slack-jawed awe. I didn’t even hit the ‘skip ad’ button. It was like I had peeked through a portal into another universe. ‘Surely, this can’t be a real HSR ad, right?’ I asked myself. ‘What happened to “I love the combat, the animations are amazing, this game’s awesome”?’
But then the official link to the game popped up on the screen, and I was on my phone Googling what on earth I’d just watched. This was last week, and at the time there didn’t seem to be much info on this ad beyond some TikToks asking the same questions as me (though, admittedly, I may have searched for the wrong term. What do you even lookup in this situation? Weird HSR ad? Nothing. Waifu Express? Getting a bit off-track here. Boobie Planet? Definitely wasn’t going to herald the results I was looking for.)
Luckily, my wonderful colleague Connor saved the day with his own researching talents and soon traced its origin back to a seven-minute-long animation called ‘The Fate of All Weebs’ from the YouTube channel Flashgitz.
Somehow, I hadn’t heard of Flashgitz before, despite their over three million subscribers and wealth of animated parodies for games I very much love. But upon falling through the proverbial rabbit hole of goofy animations that make my heart swim with a sense of nostalgia for the early days of YouTube, I started to see a hint of genius in Hoyoverse’s ways.
Since my first sighting of this mythical ad, I’ve come across a lot more discussion around it, with millions of confused Trailblazers and Travelers sharing clips, opinions, and more. Naturally, there’s also a myriad of streamers and content creators reacting to the original video. You need only search ‘The Fate of All Weebs’ and you find yourself in a sea of hubbub – and that’s kind of what it’s all about, isn’t it?
While it may seem a weird choice at first for a company to air an ad that essentially mocks both its game and at least a portion of its player base, these unusual clips certainly stand out with their lighthearted, self-aware jibing, and, as such, they have the desired effect. The Fate of All Weebs is getting people talking – including me and the rest of the PT team – far more than the character showcases, animated light cones, and even close-ups of Kaveh’s butt.
So, as much as Hoyoverse’s choices when it comes to HSR ads can be a bit hit or miss – and definitely leave a lot to be desired at times (still looking at you, five-second clip of the Traveler claiming rewards from a Leyline Blossom) – I can’t help but tip my imaginary fedora to both Flashgitz and Hoyo for bringing us this fun little nugget to brighten a newsfeed that’s been filled with a lot of sadness lately.
However, I also can’t say that any of these ads do anything for new players, and seem oddly catered to people already in on the joke. If I was unfamiliar with Honkai Star Rail and The Fate of All Weebs popped up on my screen, I’d definitely skip, and probably wouldn’t even know it was an ad for a game.
As such, it kind of feels like Hoyo is preaching to the choir here, and, while the online conversations may reach outside of our community bubble, it doesn’t capture enough of what makes HSR great, and may be off-putting to prospective new players. Oh well. Is there a planet made of boobies? No? That’s okay, I’m sure someone will mod it later, I’m just happy I’ll always have you all.
Now, let’s get down to the brass tax. If you’re looking to pull your favorite waifu from the next Honkai Star Rail banner (or husbando – I’m still waiting for the Husbando Express to arrive), be sure to head over to our Honkai Star Rail codes and grab some goodies. Or, if you want to fill those seven days and seven nights before looking east, check out our Honkai Star Rail events guide.