The yuru-kyara world watches with a cautious eye as recent unofficial mascot Teruhiko has been steadily building a fan base online. This slightly emo looking mascot character operating out of Hakodate has been winning over hearts with his cooking tips.
However, Teruhiko has a dark side that occasionally appears in impassioned tweets that threaten to undermine the otherwise diplomatic and squeaky clean world of people in puffy costumes.
While most yuru-kyara represent municipalities or communities, Teruhiko seems to represent his cramped one bedroom apartment. In a video released on NicoNico we can get a good sense of how this gritty mascot lives complete with towel drying on a hanger rack.
Here he spends his time doing what most single guys do when alone at home such as screwing around with swords…
…and making fried noodles.
Although people who have tried Teruhiko’s yakisoba recipe swear by it, the grim reality of the video is hard to ignore as we occasionally hear sirens in the background and catch glimpses of his bottle of Febreeze lying out.
One more thing Teruhiko does at home is send out a steady stream of tweets often about the Chinese meat buns known as nikuman in Japan. However, at times a dark cloud seems to descend on Teruhiko resulting in confusing tweets such as:
“Also, what if the mother is showing affection in the wrong way? I don’t mean by touching or doing anything to hurt the children either physically or mentally. I mean by making them avoid everything bad in advance, you raise the child without them experiencing everything they need to at that time in their lives. How do children grow up without becoming morons if they don’t know real pain, suffering, or sorrow?”
Comments such as this uncomfortably remind the yuru-kyara community of the Manbe-kun incident of 2012. Manbe-kun became the official mascot of Oshamanbe Town in Hokkaido in 2003. Here he is with the mayor.
In 2010, Manbe-kun joined Twitter to help promote the Town. However, upon setting up his account Manabe-kun seldom mentioned anything about Oshambe. Instead he would type random onomatopoeic words like “Kyak!” and “Chaaaan!”
Eventually the mascot would begin to use proper words but started making rather acerbic comments unbecoming of an official yuru-kyara. This culminated in a remark in August last year about World War II, which led to the termination of Manbe-kun’s Twitter account and blog. After that appearance gigs began drying up and not much has been seen of the half-crab mascot.
Many speculate that Teruhiko is, in fact, Manbe-kun. Their tweeting style is quite similar and their costumes bear a resemblance in some regards. The only difference is that Manbe-kun was an official mascot who could easily be swept under the rug, whereas the rogue mascot Teruhiko, with enough support from netizens, could become a powerful force in the yuru-kyara world.
Teruhiko’s Official Site is cleverly url’ed as http://teruhi.co/
▼ If you want to see Teruhiko’s Yakisoba recipe, here is the entire 13 minute video
▼ Manbe-kun; before the fall
[ Read in Japanese ]