Last month, SoftBank‘s series of commercials depicting several classic anime characters all grown up premiered. The ads star Kyoko Koizumi (Tokyo Sonata, Hanging Garden) as Usagi Tsukino (Sailor Moon), the proprietess at Moon Ribar an atmospheric rooftop bar. She’s assisted by Maruko-chan (Chibi Maruko-chan, played by Suzu Hirose) and welcomes guests like Fist of the North Star‘s Kenshiro (famous Kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizō XI), Obocchama-kun (played by Shinnosuke Mitsushima), Duke “Golgo 13” Tōgō (played by Fumiyo Kohinata), Joe Yabuki (Ashita no Joe, played by comedian Naoki Matayoshi) and Astro Boy himself, played by Masato Sakai (Honey and Clover).
You might think that Japanese advertisements are all Hollywood celebrity endorsements or surreal tales of busty schoolgirls with nose rings, but when it wants to, Japan can make commercials that yank on the heartstrings as strongly as anywhere else in Asia. Getting the waterworks flowing today is Toyota, asking the question, “Do you care about your parents as much as they love you?”, and while the video is short on cars, it makes up for that with plenty of tears.
We here at RocketNews are a soft bunch at heart. We’ve been affected by tear-inducing, feel-good videos from countries like Japan, Hong Kong and Thailand, and now it’s Singapore that’s got us by the feels with a touching new clip.
Based on a true story, this commercial plays more like a short art film, with atmospheric shots and superb acting that seems too real to be rehearsed. Come with us as we take a peek into the life of a graduating high school girl who looks after two younger siblings and her widowed, wheelchair-bound father, as she sacrifices her education and future for her family. Oh, and bring that box of tissues with you – you’ll be needing it!
Kikkoman is one of the most famous brands of soy sauce, especially since it comes in such unique container that is open on two sides and can never be closed. The company has been around since 1917, so they’ve had a lot of years to think of ways to advertise for the salty sauce around the world. One of their cutest ads comes from 1933 and features a crew of dancing cats in black skirts that make us squeel “KAWAII!”
And just by looking at the thumbnail for this Japanese ad for World of Tanks, the multiplayer online game that just announced that it’s coming to PlayStation 4 this year, we knew we were going to be in for a treat.
You have to feel for advertising copywriters sometimes. They have to come up with interesting and convincing ways to sell all manner of products, regardless of how mundane and unappealing they may be. But every so often, an ad comes along that makes us wish we’d been on the team that came up with it, it’s so breathtakingly weird.
After all, it’s not every day that you get to pitch ‘woman with sanitary undies for a head has suspicious red liquid drinking contest with rival sanitary napkins’.
Nana Mizuki (Hinata in Naruto, Fate in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Cure Blossom in Heartcatch Precure!) is now the “image girl” (celebrity spokeswoman) for Nakau, a Japanese restaurant chain specializing in donburi (rice bowls) and noodles.
A new commercial featuring Mizuki in a kimono advertises Nakau’s eel set meal, Unamabushi, and explains that there are three proper ways of eating the grilled eel: 1) by itself; 2) with the provided toppings; and 3) with the rice, toppings, and dashi (Japanese fish broth) in the bowl. (This is similar to a Japanese dish called ochazuke, essentially rice in tea.)
Samsung just released its latest ad for the Galaxy S6 Edge, and it looks eerily familiar.
In April, Apple made this ad for the Gold Edition of Apple Watch. When you look at Samsung’s ad and the Watch spot side by side, the similarities border on ridiculous.
Studio Ghibli produced a third commercial inspired by sumi-e (traditional Japanese brush painting) for Nisshin Seifun Group, a Japanese food and manufacturing conglomerate, the company began airing the ad in Japan on Sunday. Like the first and second commercials that aired in 2010 and 2012, respectively, the new “Onaka Suita Ne no Uta” (I’m Hungry Song) ad stars Konyara, a cat that Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki himself drew. Two new kittens, Kuroneko and Buchi, join Konyara and Ko-Konyara in the third commercial.
The South Korean government recently released a video warning the general public about the dangers of video game addiction. The 25-second ad, which has already been edited and re-released following complaints about its content, shows the ways in which overexposure to video games can adversely affect the mental health of otherwise healthy young men and women.
It’s also spectacularly stupid.
Before moving to Japan, I always liked to imagine that Japanese TV shows would be a cross between Takeshi’s Castle and Iron Chef. In reality, television here is far less entertaining, and seems to consist predominantly of carefully orchestrated panel shows and broadcasts which are so plastered with gaudy graphics and subtitles that I often feel as if I’m reading more than I’m watching when I sit in front of my TV set.
Thankfully, Japan’s primetime ads are usually far more quirky and entertaining. Take this recent commercial for odour-removal spray Febreze, for example, which features a giant, gurning sun dual-wielding bottles of the stuff.
With just a few weeks to go until its launch in Japan, Nintendo has begun streaming an introductory ad for its new, analogue nub-toting 3DS.
Check out the video in full after the jump.
As we saw last week, Japan has some marvellously eccentric ads. But sometimes it’s best not to mess with an old tried-and-tested formula. So while lingerie company Triumph International does its bit for the “WTF Japan” cause by occasionally launching concept bras with solar panels and detachable chopsticks, they also pride themselves on making (regular, non-weird) gorgeous lingerie! Hurrah!
And with this ad for the ‘Tenshi no bra’, a 50th anniversary design from Triumph, they haven’t gone far off the underwear commercial beaten track. That’s right, reader: it’s a beautiful woman in her underwear.
They call him ‘The Modern-Day Samurai’. Master swordsman Isao Machii can slice a BB gun pellet in mid-air. He holds four World Records for swordsmanship – so what’s he doing slicing up fruit in this ad for Toaster Strudels?
It’s still a cool video, though, as he slices his way through watermelons and pineapples at lightning speed. Join us after the jump for a look at this “live action fruit ninja” vid. What would Gretchen Weiners’s father think?
Japan is famous for its quirky and original commercials, and Toyota is a strong player in the constant provision of video-based weird Japanese ad-tertainment. This summer’s offering is the wakudoki, a song and dance routine performed by techno-pop outfit World Order. With some tribespeople. Oh yes, and a dancing gorilla.
It’s weird, wonderful, and we can’t stop watching!
Japan is no stranger to celebrity-endorsed products. Stars who ordinarily wouldn’t be seen dead in a commercial in their home country practically flock to Japan where, rather than being seen as a black mark on one’s resume, appearing in an ad can be a sign of having made it big, with companies prepared to pay top dollar to get a celebrity’s face alongside their product.
World-famous soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, though, was the last person we expected to see endorsing a face-toning exercise product that makes the user look like they’re devouring a frantically flapping seagull head-first…
We’re already well into the school summer holidays here in Japan, and Sony is taking the opportunity to entice younger gamers over to its decidedly more grown-up portable console, the PlayStation Vita. Join us after the jump for a closer look at these cheeky ads from Sony’s summer campaign.
Anyone who’s watched more than a smidgen of Japanese TV will tell you that the line between “appropriately heartwarming” and “so cheesy you want to tear your eyeballs out” is drawn in a different place in this country. It can seem like every exchange in a Japanese drama is overly emotionally charged. Why are the actor’s reactions so exaggerated? Does it really have to rain every time someone is sad? And why is there someone running through the streets frantically in every single episode? I have grown to love J-drama’s clichés and warm heart, but still occasionally regard Japanese acting as perplexingly over-done.
It’s heartening to discover, then, that a series of spectacularly cringe-inducing ads for Microsoft’s Surface tablets have been widely panned in Japan, as the nation screams, “Stop! You’re hurting my ears!” in one voice. Let’s take a look at this awkward new advertisement in all its glory.
Air France has come under fire this week after its latest promotional ad campaign, which consists of a series of 18 photos featuring mostly caucasian women dressed and made up to represent countries the airline serves, depicts Japan as the land of giant-haired geisha.
It’s hardly the most offensive ad ever – and it’s certainly better than ANA’s big-nosed white men commercial from earlier this year – but critics are calling for it to be pulled, with many suggesting that it is “stereotypically racist” and in poor taste. Fortunately, net users were on hand to “fix” Air France’s photos, and make them that little bit more Japanese…
As we’ve seen before, Hollywood stars who ordinarily wouldn’t be seen dead in a commercial in their homeland for fear of damaging their reputation as a serious actor aren’t quite so shy when it comes to commercials in Japan. With Japanese companies eager to push stacks of cash stars’ way in exchange for endorsing their products, occasionally a big-name actor will pop up on billboards over the famous Shibuya scramble intersection and on primetime TV.
This week, smirking silver fox George Clooney follows in Leonardo DiCaprio‘s footsteps by lending his face to a Japanese commercial, in this case one for Kirin Brewery Company’s Green Label brand of beer. Clooney is no stranger to ads even at home, but Kirin’s commercial – which sees the actor painting a house and communicating with a small bird – is kind of an odd one, partly because it doesn’t have an awful lot to do with beer, and partly because, to our ears at least, Clooney appears to be channeling Christian Bale’s Batman for his single word of Japanese dialogue.