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Fake airship
A computer-generated Amazon airship and its drones got a lot of April Fools’ attention. (Zozi009 via Twitter)

A video clip showing a drone-dispatching airship emblazoned with the Amazon logo is a powerful contender for April Fool’s joke of the year — and what makes it so powerful is that it comes close to a kind of truth.

So close that some took it as a serious sign of the dystopian retail age we’re living in.

Eventually, the truth was sorted out — with Snopes.com stepping in to help set things straight.

It all started on a Japanese Twitter account, Zozi009, which features a video production artist’s CGI wizardry — or deviltry. The artist created 3-D renderings of an airship based on the design for Lockheed Martin’s P-791 hybrid prototype, slapped on the Amazon logo, and added the imagery to the background video.

Here’s the “afternoon spoiler” with the renderings:

The drones buzzing out from the blimp add an ominous touch — which was amply noted. It’s more deliciously dark if you add the Imperial March from “Star Wars”:

The artist using the Zozi009 noted with an up-front hashtag that the video was an April Fools’ joke, but for many, the disclaimer may have been lost in translation because it was in Japanese. At least one commenter thought it was created “with the purpose of visualizing a future product or service, so there really isn’t anything to be thankful about except that it isn’t happening right *now.*”

“It isn’t an official Amazon concept video lol, just a hobbyist,” came the reply.

Actually, Amazon has patented concepts for airship-based warehouses that send out drones to make deliveries. So has Walmart. Of course, there’s no guarantee that any of those patents will be turned into anything more substantial than a CGI video — but the fact that those retail giants have been seriously considering the concept adds to the believability of the prank.

Perhaps the funniest thing about all this is that the artist behind the video apparently wasn’t aware how far Amazon has taken the concept already. “A patent for an aerial warehouse!” Zozi009 wrote in a Japanese-language tweet. “Is there such a thing? I didn’t know.”

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