While Japan can boast the most anime girl mascots, both in total and on a per capita basis, the country doesn’t have a monopoly on cute 2-D spokeswomen. Among other neighbors in Asia, Taiwan has shown it’s willing to take a page from Japanese otaku imagery now and again.
Last winter, for instance, McDonald’s workers at one branch in Taiwan dressed up in maid outfits. And if you’re choosing fast food because there’s someplace you’ve got to be, your anime preferences will still be catered to if you choose to get there with the Kaohsiung City subway and its new, doe-eyed, miniskirted mascot.
Earlier this month, Kaohsiung hosted a two-day event for independent comic and video game creators. The Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit system felt this would also be the perfect opportunity to debut their new mascot, Xiao Qiong.
As you can see, her design checks off several of the criteria for a bona fide anime protagonist, with expressive eyes, a slender build, and a skirt short and tight enough that it’d be scandalous in real life.
Depending on how cynical you are, you might think that her unique hair accessory serves no purpose other than to give merchandisers something to sell replicas of. Actually, though, it’s a nod to the KMRT’s Formosa Boulevard Station, which is famous for its gigantic and dazzling 30-meter (98′-5″) Dome of Light.
Oddly enough, though, Xiao Qiong’s official profile doesn’t list her as an employee of the Formosa Boulevard Station, even though she and the station share a Chinese character of their names. Instead, she’s said to work at a different stop on the KMRT Orange Line, Yanchenpu Station. Other personal tidbits include her height of 163 centimeters (5’4”) and strangely precise weight of 45.625 kilograms (100.375 pounds), which is given as such due to her purported hatred of rounding off numbers.
That weird mathematical hang-up isn’t the only thing that gets under Xiao Qiong’s skin. She also can’t stand people who eat or drink on the subway, which is in keeping with her numerous appearances on posters issued by KRT, the subway’s operator, reminding passengers to mind their manners.
▼ Counterclockwise from upper left: Let others off before entering the train, be courteous of pregnant, elderly, or disabled passengers, hold the handrail on the escalator, and don’t imitate the cast of hit anime Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, we think.
▼ We agree that being on guard against pervs taking upskirt smartphone pics and broadsword-wielding psychopaths who pick fights with trash cans is solid advice. By comparison, though, watching out so that the Hamburglar doesn’t steal your lunch seems like pretty small potatoes.
In no time at all, Xiao Qiong leveled up from being a stern authority figure and became an anime crush for her admirers. As a matter of fact, she’s now featured on a Facebook page for something called the KRT Girls, which hints that more anime mascots are on the way for the subway network.
Right now, the only clues as to who they may be is this teaser image of a pigtailed blond young lady in what looks to be a conductor’s uniform. Still, it’s certainly enough to whet the appetite of the city’s anime fans.
▼ Just remember not to satisfy your regular appetite by snacking on the subway.