Find out what the country’s most well-known onsen look like as a cute idol group in their very first video.
When it comes to anthropomorphising inanimate objects, nobody does it quite like Japan. From historical swords as handsome men in the animated game Touken Ranbu to warships as cute girls in anime series KanColle, talented illustrators around the country have a knack for turning the world’s most unlikely objects into cute wide-eyed anime stars.
Now it’s time for Japan’s onsen hot springs to come to life as anime characters, with a group of animated idols called “Onsen Musume” or “Onsen Girls“. Created by a start-up company called Enbound, in conjunction with Tokyo Otaku Mode and Dai-ichi Kangyo Credit Cooperative, the characters are part of a new multimedia project designed to help promote Japanese hot springs. And if the new promotional video for the group is anything to go by, these girls are definitely going to do a good job of getting people interested in the country’s onsen.
Take a look at the girls’ debut in the promotional video below:
There are nine onsen girls in the Onsen Musume group, including Saya Hakone representing Hakone Onsen.
▼ And Yuina Kusatsu as Kusatsu onsen in Gunma Prefecture.
▼ Ayase Noboribetsu is the character for Noboribetsu, Hokkaido’s most famous hot spring resort.
The other girls in the group include: Nanako Akiu, Kanade Baden Yufuin, Izumi Dougo, and Mitsuki Gero, whose surnames all link up to the onsen they’re embodying. There’s also Fuuka Arima and Rinka Arima, who are Arima’s famous silver hot spring and golden hot spring respectively.
According to the team behind the project, the Onsen Musume story begins when the onsen are summoned forth by the hot spring god Sukunahiko to become anthropomorphised members of an idol group called SPRiNGS. Starting with these nine members, who will compete against each other in song and dance, the project hopes to expand to include all of Japan’s thousands of hot springs around the country, and eventually culminate in a game and anime TV series about the girls.
The release of the promotional video coincides with the launch of the group’s official campaign on Japanese crowdfunding site Makuake. Offering returns like mini-album CDs, cute merchandise, and tickets to live shows, the project has already raised 3.4 million yen (US$30,165) of its 5 million yet target goal, with 39 days left in the campaign.
With so much interest in the new Onsen Musume series, it shouldn’t be too long before we get to see more from the singing and dancing hot springs. After all, there’s already a novel about a boy who’s been turned into a hot spring, so now it’s time for hot springs to have their turn in the spotlight, this time as a group of fun-loving young girls!