Recently, we’ve brought you several articles detailing the meteoric rise of new franchise Youkai Watch as it continues to steal fans and attention away from the much-loved institution that is Pokémon. Die-hard Pokémon fans out there may feel safe in the assumption that Youkai Watch, being more traditionally “Japanese” in feel, will never match the success of Pokémon in the West. Be that as it may, we now have conclusive evidence that Pikachu’s time in the Japanese sun is well and truly over as new champion Jibanyan ascends his throne. Join us after the jump for proof!
Picture the scene: “Hey, Suzuki-san, we’ve got a special job for you! Inside this box is a Mini Titan costume. This week, you’re going to go around the big anime and manga shops in Tokyo promoting the new Attack on Titan exhibition.”
Suzuki-san runs to the box containing the costume and rips it open excitedly. His face falls…for the creature he finds within is the oddest, ugliest Titan the world has ever seen.
Nov 5, 2014
The inimitable Mr. Sato is such a big fan of Funasshi, the unofficial jiggly pear mascot of Funabashi City, that he even created his own mascot-to-the-mascot, Satosshi. This Halloween, Satosshi decided to head down to the famous Shibuya crossing to make friends with fellow costume-wearing Tokyoites.
Might there be other, kindred spirit Funasshi fans there? Will Satosshi be busted as an unofficial impersonator? Could Mr. Sato’s journalistic efforts be thwarted by a sudden attack of deadline confusion? And worse still, what if no one recognises him? Join us after the jump for a photo report from Satosshi’s big night out.
Have you ever wondered how Kumamon suddenly burst into the spotlight back in 2011? It was the result of his victory in the national mascot character contest, the Yuru-kyara Grand Prix. The contest has been held every year since 2010 and Kumamon was the first major winner in 2011.
Voting for the annual contest runs from August to October every year and people are eligible to vote for their favorite character (usually the one representing their town or prefecture) once a day for the duration of the contest. Well, the results for the 2014 contest are finally in, and it looks like a certain entrant took the win by a nose.
Oct 30, 2014
Earlier this year, we brought you the news that Japan’s wacky anti-piracy ads have turned into something of a cultural phenomenon, with body-popping mascots Camera Otoko and Patrol Lamp Otoko getting their own range of figurines. Now a new ad has been released, which features extra characters Popcorn Otoko and Soda Otoko. But what role do they have to play in this mini crime drama, besides providing delicious refreshment?
Oct 16, 2014
Say what you will about ‘yuru-kyara‘ – the marketing idea that can be basically summed up as Japan’s “let’s have a cartoon mascot for EVERYTHING!” philosophy – but the vast majority of those funny characters adopted by prefecture and town tourism boards across the nation are nothing if not cute!
Take Princess Miyako, character mascot of Miyako-machi in Fukuoka Prefecture. Designed by illustrator Shiitake, Princess Miyako is the picture of youthful elegance: her fresh purple and green tones are even modelled after the town’s iris flowers.
It’s one thing to design a beautiful anime character in two dimensions. But when that mascot gets transformed into a three-dimensional character costume, bad things can happen. Bad, bad things…
Oct 11, 2014
Over the years the mascot industry in Japan has swelled considerably. An uncountable number of people in big-headed costumes currently represent the nation’s prefectures, cities, government offices and private companies. Then on top of all that we have independent mascots running around too like Funasshi and Teruhiko.
However, the editors at RocketNews24 feel they have come up with something that will bring the entire mascot world down to its knees. His name is Hard Ku**mon and he is prepared to do something that no other mascot has done before: actual labor.
If recent reports are to be believed, tatami, the traditional Japanese flooring made of soft rush straw, may soon be a thing of the past as people begin to favor easier-to-clean western style flooring. It’s really a shame because there’s nothing quite like the smell and natural feel of tatami under your toes. We’ve already seen novel attempts at spicing up the traditional mats with LED lights, but we’re hoping they’ll have more success with these cute decorative tatami featuring Kumamoto Prefecture’s official bear mascot, Kumamon.
Have you been wondering what Japan’s favorite mascot has been up to lately? Who, you say? Why, Funasshi, of course, Japan’s squiggly wiggly pear mascot from Funabashi City in Chiba! After rocketing to fame and winning Japan’s top mascot honors in 2013, Funasshi has been touring Japan and the world! Its latest trip was to report for Fuji TV’s “World’s Best Of Picture Show: Top Research“. Find out all the American locations a gyrating pear looks out of place in after the jump.
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!
Michelle Lynn Dinh
Aug 22, 2014
From December of last year until this February, Tottori City held an open call for mascot ideas for a character to represent the Tottori Castle ruins. The ruins were named one of Japan’s 100 notable castles and have enjoyed an influx of tourists.
The mascot idea which came in second place was Katsue-san, the starving farm girl. When the announcement of Kazue hit, the internet lit up with excitement. However, she mysteriously disappeared from the Tottori City website soon after.
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.
Jul 1, 2014
Anyone who has ever visited Japan or spent any amount of time browsing our pages will know that the country is home to literally hundreds of mascot characters, or yurukyara, each weirder than the last. From developmentally challenged sushi to the nightmarish Okazaemon, there’s certainly no lack of originality and quirk to be had.
But one small Ibrakai town has a new mascot character that, according to Japanese net users and our own Japanese staff, “even a mother couldn’t love.” This, ladies and gentlemen of the internet, is Araippe, a creature with bird-like feet, a shell for a nose, and dangling locks of hair that are actually fish fry.
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.
Japan has more than its fair share of ridiculous mascots, ranging from the absurdly muscled pot sticker, Chaozu-kun, to the snarky Yoshida-kun representing the country’s least popular prefecture.
But of all the crazy characters, our most favorite mascot to ever represent Japan has got to be Funnashi, the jiggly yellow pear. Just one look at his rotund head and undulating belly, coupled with his somewhat creepy high-pitched voice, and you’ve got something so hilariously bizarre, even a professional newscaster for CNN couldn’t keep it together on live TV.
Move over Marimokkori, there’s a new creepy mascot in town! The Japan Gyoza Association (because apparently that’s a thing) has just introduced a new character that’s making people vaguely queasy: Chaozu-kun. While he may not be rocking Marimokkori’s round green chubby, he does make us uneasily aware of his sexuality.
May 1, 2014
When you’re in charge of marketing for an organization with a name as bland as Kitarumoi Fishery Cooperative Association, we can see how you’d come to the conclusion that your employer could use a quick injection of stylishness and visual appeal in the public eye. This being Japan, there are two quick ways to do this.
The first is to hire a popular actress or idol singer, dress her up in a short skirt and/or revealing top, and get her to pose with whatever product you’re promoting, which in the case of the Kitarumoi Fishery Cooperative Association is currently amaebi, or sweet shrimp.
We’re not sure if this was cost prohibitive or if every spokesmodel on the company’s shortlist turned out to have a shellfish allergy, but the marketing team instead went with plan B: turn the shrimp they’re selling into a cute anime girl.
Danny Choo, founder of Culture Japan and inexhaustible ambassador for all things moe, announced the collaboration between his mascot Mirai Suenaga and the Thai airline Asian Air on his website this week. Read on to find out just how far their plans for anime-themed air domination go.
It’s a common sight to see hot dog stands in America. In Singapore, ice cream stands are a lifesaver in the sweltering hot weather. In Japan, however, you’re more likely to find a yaki-imo (roasted sweet potato) stand on the streets, especially during winter. If you’re lucky enough, you might even meet the legendary cat that sells stone roasted sweet potatoes in Kurayoshi City, Tottori Prefecture!
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- Korean illustrator gives Western fairy tales a whimsical Eastern makeover【Pics】9
- Hayao Miyazaki comments on Chihiro’s final test scene in Spirited Away10
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- Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”2
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- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea8
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours9
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】10
- Artist magically transforms Sailor Moon characters into black women
- Commercial reminds Japan’s tired commuters about the drawbacks of living far away from work
- 【TBT】Chinese bootleg DVDs improve on originals in every way
- Bizarre otaku dancing catches on as Wotagei spreads around the world【Videos】
- OPPO’s new R5 smartphone is a multi-tool disguised as the thinnest cell phone ever
- Character images of new Digimon Adventure series released, expected to air in spring 2015
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- This crazy 4-minute clip is the most epic fan-made anime tribute we’ve seen this year