Or claim all the love for themselves, if they so desire.
For some time now, pillowcases with pictures of anime characters have been one of the most coveted categories of merchandise among hard-core fans. The appeal is that having such a pillow case lets you put your arms around your 2-D crush as your drift off into slumber or lie in bed on restless, sleepless nights.
But now illustrator and Twitter user @marudayo has flipped things around and come up with a way for fans to feel like they’re the ones being tightly embraced by the anime character of their choice.
マル@３日目東ネ-16b (@marudayo) August 20, 2017
Starting with a plain white T-shirt, @marudayo added a wrap-around drawing of Atsumi Munakata, one of the perky vocalists from anime.video game franchise The Idolmaster. Atsumi’s posing might look a little unusual at first glance, but when viewed as a whole the artwork gives the effect of the character pressing herself against the wearer’s back and squeezing the torso with her hands in a display of possessive affection.
▼ @marudayo has also created a second shirt with The Idolmaster’s Mayu Sakuma.
マル@３日目東ネ-16b (@marudayo) August 18, 2017
These aren’t officially licensed pieces of merchandise, but @marudayo says he does plan to sell them at derivative artwork fan events, such as Comiket, which Japanese rights holders often turn a blind eye to. While he hasn’t said when exactly they’ll become available, some fans are already chomping at the bit, promising to buy them as soon as they can. Others have offered suggested improvements, such as using a colored T-shirt instead of a white one in order to better hide discoloring after extended use, since owners won’t want to bleach the shirts for fear of erasing the character artwork.
While the obvious target market is fans with a romantic attachment to a particular character, @marudayo also suggests a clever alternate use. Since the artwork will always make it look like the character is hugging the wearer, wearing this sort of T-shirt while cosplaying as yet another character should create a romantic scene between the anime couple of your choice. “This would be a great way to ship two characters, wouldn’t it?” @marudayo asks, and if you start seeing a bunch of similar shirts at a future anime convention, you’ll know who to credit with the idea.