You’ve seen that ‘draw the owl’ meme image, right? It’s a parody of a how-to draw book. Japan has a version of that, but instead of the owl, it features Draco Malfoy. You know, from Harry Potter.
Harry Potter has been incredibly popular in Japan thanks to the movies and the books’ excellent Japanese translations. Draco Malfoy is, in particular, a popular character online, and his image shows up in memes from time to time.
Earlier this year, the “How to Draw Malfoy” meme became so popular that an app version of it has now been released. Originally, it started as a tweet (below) on February 20 and has been retweeted over forty thousand times.
Why Malfoy? Better yet, why did drawing Malfoy become popular? The reason is due to Malfoy’s puntastic name in Japanese, which is “Marufoi” (マルフォイ).
Just like in the English-speaking world, how to draw books in Japan often start with “draw a circle”.
However, the draw Malfoy meme also seems to be inspired by the “How to Draw Doraemon” song that sometimes appears on that anime. Doraemon is a robotic cat from the future and one of Japan’s most endearing animated characters.
The song, which you can see above, starts with “Draw a circle” or “Maru kaite” (まるかいて). And then goes “chon”, which here means make a dot. The song is popular among little kids and has helped a generation become skilled Doraemon artists.
For Malfoy, the instructions are a pun on his name, “Marufoi” in Japanese: “Maru kaite foi” or “Draw a circle. Presto!”
In this video, you can watch a dude in sunglasses check out the app. Note that small circles mean small Malfoys.
As a gag, some created a spin on the Draw Malfoy meme, including an image of an older Malfoy appearing and frightening the young Draco.
Ten points for Slytherin!