It seems we just can’t ring in the new year anymore without this cheering squad of Friezas! Is the Dragon Ball Z overlord actually…benevolent!?

The Hakone university ekiden (long-distance relay) is a New Year’s tradition in Japan, held annually on January 2 and 3 between Tokyo and Hakone (in Kanagawa Prefecture) since 1920. The competition brings together the 20 fastest university running teams from the Kanto region of Japan and is broadcast on national television as the rest of the country lazes through the lazy first few days of the year in the comfort of their homes.

A more modern New Year’s tradition is the appearance of a certain group of fans at the race cosplaying as Frieza, one of the main and instantly recognizable villains of anime Dragon Ball Z. The group has become a sort of yearly fixture at the marathon, and viewers look forward to seeing their (slightly disconcerting) efforts to cheer on runners in the frigid temperatures.

Unlike past years where all of the mystery supporters have chosen to dress in the style of Frieza’s fourth form, this year one member of the group appears to be cosplaying as Frieza’s incomplete and cumbersome third form, two members as his fourth form, and one member in the new shining golden form introduced in 2015’s Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ theatrical feature.

Let’s take a look at what antics the Frieza squad were up to this year, as shared over the Japanese Twitterverse:

▼ “Spoiler Frieza”

▼ “In the midst of line dancing”

▼ An amusing video of the four cheering on the runners. Is that EXILE’s signature “Choo Choo TRAIN” dance and a portion of Golden Bomber’s dance from their hit single “Memeshikute” that I spy them performing?

While some Japanese net users wished the Friezas would just pack up their bags and go suuport the runners on another planet already, plenty of net users were still tickled by their now seemingly obligatory appearance at the event:

“I support Lord Frieza!”

“They’ve got the golden form this time, too!”

“They’ve gotta be cold in those outfits.”

“People who say they’re being ridiculous obviously didn’t have a fun youth.”

“Maybe it’s their strategy to cripple other runners with laughter!”

We’ll certainly be disappointed if the squad does eventually decide to stop coming the marathon–but hey, you don’t exactly get a lot of spare time when you’re the evil overlord of the universe!

Source: My Game News Flash
Top image: Twitter/@solarsuzuki