New male characters join preexisting team of female 2-D spokesmodels.
If you’re looking to attract attention and positive feelings to a product or organization in Japan, one of the most tried-and-true methods to is to have cute anime girls endorse it. It’s a tactic that even the Kyoto Transportation Bureau has adopted, as last year it redoubled its marketing efforts featuring Moe Uzumasa, Saki Matsuga, and Misa Ono, a trio of illustrated 17-year-old schoolgirls who just love the Kyoto subway.
▼ From left to right: Moe, Saki, Misa, and Moe’s big sister Rei.
But one of the biggest trends in the anime world over the last few years has been the huge growth in merchandising oriented towards female fans. So in addition to its four 2-D spokeswomen, starting this month the Kyoto subway’s promotional team will Transportation Bureau will include two handsome anime guys.
Seen on the left in the above image is 21-year-old Ryo Ono, Misa’s older brother and a third-year college student. Appearing on the right is his former classmate from high school, Takeru Jujo, who’s decided to pass on higher education and become a baker.
Both characters made their public debuts on October 4, appearing on posters inside Kyoto subway trains. This winter, fans will be able to purchase one-day Kyoto subway passes bearing the character’s likenesses, with the Takeru version going on sale first in mid-December, and the Ryo pass becoming available in late January.
There’s now even something of a Kyoto subway anime character multiverse, which crosses over with the official anime girl mascots of the Kyoto International Manga Museum and Kyoto Gakuen University, the latter of whom is Moe’s cousin.
Considering that the complete list of characters already includes an anthropomorphized subway car and bus, all it needs now is a couple of cute animal sidekicks, and it’ll have all bases covered.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where his transportation mascot loyalties lie with Norurun.