Cuteness sells, even if what you’re selling is recruitment for the Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) and the National Defense Academy (NDA). Since last July, the JSDF’s Okayama Provincial Cooperation Office has been using three adorable mascot girls to raise awareness for the JSDF. The girls represent each military branch of the forces, sporting the uniforms for each. Momoe Kibi represents the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (Army), Mizuho Seto represents the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (Navy), while Airi Bizen represents the Japan Air Self Defense Force (Air Force). If the design aesthetic looks familiar, it’s because the girls were created by Humikane Shimada, the original character designer behind such military-inspired moe series like Strike Witches and Girls und Panzer.
Since the introduction of the mascots, though, their popularity has skyrocketed even outside of the prefecture. Whereas only 500 flyers were printed for the July introduction of Momoe at a comics sales event, 6,500 calendars and 90,000 postcards were prepared for the August introduction of Mizuho and Airi, all of which were quickly snapped up.
More importantly, it seems as though the campaign is working—volunteer numbers have increased by 20% in Okayama prefecture.
Here’s a 19-second spot, which can also be downloaded from the Okayama office’s website
More from Anime News Network