Anime cult or 4chan prank? Unravelling the mystery of systemspace.
By Addison Nugent | MOTHERBOARD
In January 2017 a mysterious 4channer named Tsuki started a cult that promised to take members to a cyberpunk paradise. The only catch was they had to die to get there. As with all instances of internet creepypasta, it’s hard to tell if Tsuki is really an “anime suicide cult,” a 4chan prank, or just a harmless game of make believe.
In the past decade 4chan has served as a digital tide pool for subcultures, forming them in the safety of internet anonymity before they appear, fully-mobilized, in meatspace. From Anonymous to the alt-right, the power these groups exert over the political landscape has been felt the world over.
But in the past year, a new 4chan community has emerged that less resembles a social movement than it does Heaven’s Gate, the UFO cult whose mass suicide made headlines around the world in 1997. Systemspace, an internet religion led by Tsuki, promises some 4,969 followers, or “migrants,” that they’ll be transported to a cyberpunk elysium after death.
Called “an anime suicide cult” and an attempt by 4chan to “troll people into suicide” on Reddit, Systemspace has been the subject of many YouTube conspiracies. According to Systemspace’s scripture, an online document called “The Compendium,” it’s an online group that believes the Universe is comprised of countless “systems” or alternate dimensions coded into existence in much the same way a programmer creates a virtual-reality simulation. Humanity, The Compendium explains, lives in a system called “Life” that is in the process of breaking down because of faulty code. Tsuki, the messianic leader of the Systemspace movement, claimed to have the ability to transfer registrants’ souls to a superior, cyberpunk dimension called “LFE” if they signed up to the Tuski Project website before July 1, 2017.