A notoriously bad work of fanfic, published shortly after the theatrical release of Return of the Jedi by a small, independent pulp printing house, under an anonymous byline. It is widely known as "the worst adaptation of movie characters to the printed page ever." The author is unknown, but rumors give credit to (among others):

For one brief shining moment in 1985, it was hip to be suspected as the author of this atrocious piece of work, so Christian Slater, Michael J. Fox, and the Coreys all took their turns claiming to be "the one" in Tiger Beat interviews. Local libraries were besieged with 10-year-old girls wishing to read this awful tale; there are, however, no records of anyone having it out longer than one day.

In literary scope, it has been compared favorably to books like "101 More Ways Not to Die in an Elevator," and "Allotheria: A Field Guide." In depth, it competes with "Plan 9 From Outer Space" and the backs of some cereal boxes--but usually loses. In terms of sheer enjoyment, one reader, who claimed to have made it all the way to page 75 before falling into a coma from severe internal injuries, compared it to "the worst Vogon Poetry ever published, only... novel length."

The plot, insofar as there is one, finds Princess Leia dating Han Solo, and losing control of her bizarrely feminine Jedi powers. She discovers that she causes any lightsaber she wraps her hand around to surge in power; this makes her a formidable opponent in training, but she soon finds that she has used too much Force on Luke's lightsaber, and it is rendered useless. Han Solo sees Luke defenseless and reveals that he, too, has a lightsaber--larger, and of sterner stuff than Luke's. Leia is overjoyed at first, but soon her overeager, Force-laden hands burn out Han's long, purple lightsaber, too. When she realizes she has left both of the men in her life without any symbol of their manly ability to defend her, she sobs quietly and retreats to Dagobah for some introspection. It is there, in the wet, dark cave that Yoda showed Luke, that she discovers that female Jedi were not meant to use a lightsaber on their own, but to recharge the lightsabers of other male Jedi. Her hands are too clumsy an outlet for such Force, and she must learn to focus her mouth, her tongue, and her throat toward producing... the Yodel of Life!

In every copy of the novel still in circulation, the pages that describe Leia's training are torn out or haphazardly glued together, possibly by overzealous fans, so, alas, we will never find out what exactly Leia must do to the lightsabers to recharge them. All we learn is that "...it worked! Oh, Leia, that's... amazing!" Unfortunately, even the speaker's identity is unknown.

Nevertheless, we know that on applying her newly-discovered powers to Luke's and Han's lightsabers, they spring back to life, stronger than before and throbbing with the Force, just in time for a fierce--and terribly-written--battle with a planet of Amazon female warriors and threaten the balance of the universe. That battle is followed by another scene in which Leia insists on recharging Luke and Han's lightsabers, but, like the first one, this one is missing or erratically stuck together, so even if you had the desire to get that far into the book, you will never know how it ends.

"Princess Leia, the yodel of life" is neither the title of a fan fiction1 nor a sound Luke Skywalker has ever made. What it is, is a bizarre, non-sequitur phrase somewhat similar to "All your base are belong to us" used to confuse those who don't know what it's from. To be fair, it's actually impossible to use this phrase in context, since it was non-sequitur to begin with.

"Princess Leia, the yodel of life" is a line from an infamous series of animations called "animutations", done by Neil "Trapezoid" Cicierega. It first appeared in Hyakugojyuuichi2 as an intentional mondegreen: think "Excuse me while I kiss this guy", except done on purpose. Hyakugojyuuichi, as one might be able to tell from the title, is a Japanese song that contains no English lyrics. So far as I know, Neil Cicierega doesn't speak Japanese, but apparently thought it would be funny to try and match some English lyrics as closely as possible to the sounds of the Japanese words. The results were brilliant in their surrealism, the animutations became widely popular, and the phrase entered the lexicon of those seeking to confuse the uninitiated.

This isn't the only running joke from Hyakugojyuuichi that has made appearances in other animutations. Pee Wee Herman, Colin Mochrie, Harry Potter, Mr. Bean, some guy with a stretched-out neck, and intentionally poorly photoshopped images of people twisted and drawn over to look monstrously deformed have become a staple of the art form. They also contain animated GIFs of people dancing, images flipped back and forth as a cheap and easy substitute for motion, and rapid-fire pop culture references and fake subliminal messages that are often too fast to even take in on the first viewing. But the overriding theme remains intentionally cheap, shoddy animation put together mostly with images downloaded from around the Internet, set to songs in a foreign language with absolutely no attempt to make any sort of logical connection between the original meaning of the song and the animations which assault3 the viewer.

Since Hyakugojyuuichi, "Princess Leia, the yodel of life" has made several other appearances, both in Neil Cicierega's animutations and the "fanimutations" made by other animators in his style, usually as a sign in the background paying homage to the animutation that started the craze. Below, I have transcribed the original Japanese lyrics, Neil Cicierega's mondegreens, and the real English translation. The Japanese and English lyrics were taken from Codepie's Hyakugojyuuichi writeup, while Neil Cicierega's lyrics were taken from the animutation's subtitles.

Kimi-tachi to no deai wa zenbu
TV says donuts are high in fat, kazoo
I remember all of them well

Chanto oboete 'ru
Found a hobo in my room
My first encounters with you guys

Kizutsukeatta koto mo atta kedo
It's Princess Leia, the yodel of life
There were also painful moments but

Sore wa (e~to) wasureta
Give me my sweater back, or I'll play the guitar
Speaking of which (uhhh) I forgot

Come to think of it, the real lyrics don't make much sense either.

1. At least it wasn't a fan fiction at the time this was written. Who knows what Jurph might have accidentally inspired.

2. Hyakugojyuuichi means "a hundred and fifty-one", and I understand that it was used as the theme song for the Pokémon cartoon. A hundred and fifty-one refers to the number of different Pokémon in the series when it first started (there are many more now).

3. Assault is the best word I can think of to describe the way these images, sometimes disturbing and always senseless, are thrown up on the screen one after another without giving the viewer a chance to breathe. It's the animation equivalent of a cluster bomb.

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