characters

Dedicated designer mum’s lunch bag art is way too good to throw away

Brown paper lunch bags don’t have to be boring! One mum’s stunning drawings on her kids’ baggies liven up lunchtime, and are so good that it almost seems a waste to draw them on something that’s designed to be disposable.

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Shiraishi Island needs YOUR character ideas!

If you went to your town council meeting in your country and told them you wanted to make a cutesy mascot to represent your city, you’d probably get a few smirks from the council members. If you further told them that the character would be androgynous and hardly recognizable as any particular animal, you’d get a few laughs. Then, if you told them it didn’t even need to have a mouth, that it could be frumpy and clutsy, and that this could be a main draw to your town, you’d have been laughed out of the town hall right then and there.

But this is Japan, where characters are biiiig business. The Japanese have taken the concept of Mickey Mouse, Snoopy and The Muppets to a whole new level. With huge success. And now, one junior high school student is hoping to tap into the power of the mascot character to achieve something far more noble trying to get rich: reviving her community and bringing much-needed tourism to the tiny island on which she lives. But she needs your help.

This, RocketNews24 reader, is your chance to get involved in Japan’s mascot frenzy! Submit a character idea to represent this small Japanese island–and who knows, maybe your idea will be chosen! Interested? Read on!

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Rumour: Super Smash Bros. character list leaked? 【Update: Pretty much confirmed】

If you’re the kind of person who likes video games and isn’t dead inside, chances are you’re looking forward to Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U, due to release later this year. The comic fighting game’s creators have been teasing us for what feels like decades now by slowly revealing which characters will be available to play as, talking of trimming the fat while simultaneously revealing what appears to be every Nintendo character under the sun.

If the following “leaked” screenshots and video are to be believed, however, Nintendo’s character roster-teasing days are about to come to an abrupt end.

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These anime mascots are just what the World Cup has been missing!

Here at RocketNews24 we believe there are few things that can’t be improved with a sprinkling of anime style – even sports mascots. So we were thrilled to learn that one mystery artist has created unofficial anime mascots for all 32 World Cup teams. If you like your football with a side helping of cute and quirky cartoon girls, you’ve come to the right place!

Join us after the jump for a host of new anime characters dressed as superheros, animals and more – all in their team colours, of course.

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Can’t get enough Funasshi? Here come Funa-shoes!

Japan is always on the lookout for a charismatic new character, and right now no one’s star is rising faster than Funasshi. The frenetic flailing and bubbly babbling of the anthropomorphic pear has been winning over fans across Japan and even overseas.

Soon, those who just can’t get enough of Funabashi City’s unofficial mascot can show their devotion with a pair of Funasshi shoes.

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Osaka airport’s new mascot is adorable, laid-back, possibly drunk

Osaka International Airport has a deceptively confusing name. First, although its mailing address is indeed in Osaka, a large portion of the facility actually spills over the border into neighboring Hyogo Prefecture, specifically the city of Itami.

Second, it only has domestic flights, as during the 1990s the overseas traffic was moved to Kansai International Airport, an international airport that’s entirely in Osaka (yet completely separate from Osaka International Airport).

But even if it’s hard to find a shred of logic to the naming of Osaka International Airport, the domestic hub can now fall back on the good looks of its new mascot, the undeniably cute, possibly worrying Sora-yan.

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See what 13 stuffed toys look like after a wash at the home spa

People in Japan love their soft toys. And with so many cute characters to choose from, it’s easy to understand why. But with love comes a sense of responsibility, which means there will eventually come a time when your favourite stuffed character will have to face the wash. The only thing is, with their adorable, life-like expressions, a wash-and-dry for a stuffed toy ends up looking like a day at the spa followed by a visit to the amusement park!

Check out the adventures of some crazy Japanese plushies, as documented by their owners, after the jump.

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Rika-chan finds a playmate in cute Kumamoto character Kumamon

If you’re a girl who grew up with Japanese relatives, then this Rika-chan doll probably brings back some childhood memories. Created in 1967, her popularity in Japan rivals that of Barbie in the West and her impressive accessories collection contains all sorts of Japanese-related goods including futons, Hello Kitty hats and kimonos. Now Rika is adding to her collection by collaborating with one of Japan’s newest and most popular characters, Kumamon, the official mascot for Kumamoto city in Kyushu. The new friends, with their matching black, red and white outfits, will be released on February 1 by Takara Tomy.

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Akita musician and illustrator do everything they can to convince us their eel characters are actually dongs

Japan cranks out a huge number of corporate and regional mascot characters, and each one is required to be cute, right down to its name. Unfortunately, sometimes a moniker that sounds perfectly fine in Japanese doesn’t have quite the same inoffensive ring to it in English.

Of course, naming choices can have unfortunate implications for Japanese speakers as well, like with Akita Prefecture’s cute little garden eel character called Chinanabo. In Chinanabo’s case, however, there’s enough evidence to make us think his creators are in on the joke.

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From Slime to Hello Kitty: Themed pastries and desserts too gorgeous to eat

The best part of any meal is dessert. In fact, there are some days that we just skip the rest of the meal and go right for the cake! And there’s nothing better than a delicious pastry…except maybe delicious pastries in the forms of our favorite characters!

Are you ready for Totoro cakes, Alice In Wonderland cupcakes, and kitty lattes? If so, click below for the best photos of themed pastries as selected by Japanese Twitter users. They’re sure to set your mouth watering and your stomach rumbling!

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Why reading their own language gives Mongolians a headache

Being able to read is something many people take for granted. I mean, English with its Latin alphabet only consists of 26 letters. Now imagine that the writing system (or script) of your country was changed for political reasons. Cities and towns across the border share almost the same spoken language, but with a totally different way of writing it down. This has been the situation in Mongolia. Drastic changes in scripts throughout the twentieth century have led to recurrent headaches for native readers.

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Japanese children surveyed to find the most popular characters

Japan is a country with a lot of cute characters. Starting with the obvious ones from anime and manga like Totoro and Doraemon, there’s also ones featured in video games like Pikachu or Sonic, and corporate symbols like Hello Kitty. Going further we can delve into the deep ecosystem of costumed mascots that can be found everywhere throughout Japan. Finally we can pile on all of the imported characters from North America and Europe.

All these cuddly animals and monsters running around beg the question: Which one is the most popular amongst children? To answer that, we have the semiannual Characters and Children Marketing Survey results which were recently published in Japan. Let’s take a look.

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【Disney Tip】 Did you know you can get a letter from your favorite Disney character? Here’s how!

There are probably very few of us who haven’t been touched by Disney magic at one time or another, and I’m sure we all have our favorite Disney characters (whether childhood or current). Well, have you ever thought about what it may be like to receive a letter from your Disney character? It turns out, there’s a way to actually make that happen! Read More

Moe Madness: Government Realizes Selling Power of Cute 2D Girls


Moe promotion is in right now! Anything can be moe-fied, and a cute persona can help sell anything from regular rice to smelly natto. Recently companies, schools, railways and even  government offices have all been getting in on the act. You just can’t get away from it! And this video has the proof.  Read More

Aichi Prefecture City’s New Mascot Character Scares Local Children, Haunts Your Dreams

As we’ve seen before, Japan is no stranger to weird and wonderful mascots. Showing up at festivals and parades, these bouncy fellows wave at townspeople and visitors as if their lives depended on it, posing for photos and receiving hugs from excited children and young women endlessly shout kawaiiiii (cuuuuute!) at the top of their lungs. Usually, these mascots — known as yurukyara — are based on a something that the area is particularly proud of, so it’s not unusual to see giant walking vegetables or anthropomorphic animals representing their respective towns or prefectures.

Sometimes, though, a character emerges that is so “kimo kawaii” (gross yet somehow cute) that people aren’t sure whether to smile at it or fire up a flame thrower. One such character is the newly unveiled Okazaemon, the mascot for Okazaki City in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture.

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Mascot Grand Prix 2012: Mr. Bari the Baby Chicken Declared Winner

Anyone who’s been to Japan knows that it’s a mascot loving country. Everything from attack choppers to Windows OS to Temples has a cute moe character representing it. I remember when I first came to Japan, the customs website had a cartoon schnauzer in a police uniform explaining the list of prohibited items upon entry.

And then we have the genre of yuru-kyara (loose mascot characters) who are more of the Disney person-in-a-mouse-suit type mascot. However, these mascots don’t represent businesses. They are the cute symbols of cities, towns, districts, or even buildings.

Across the country there is an intricate network of yuru-kyara, the sheer size and variety of which makes you begin to understand why Pokemon came from this country. Since 2010, an annual nation-wide vote has been held to choose the fairest mascot of the land. For the Yuru-Kyara Grand Prix 2012, 6,500,000 votes were cast to rank the 865 official mascots who entered.

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