Archive for February, 2014

Chocolate & honey mustard: the Valentine’s Day pair to avoid

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

“But there’s mole sauce, right?” my boss remarked when I expressed my initial disgust at Lotteria‘s chocolate & honey mustard grilled chicken burger. There is mole sauce, it’s true. And I love mole! Spicy chocolate is great! In fact, why not just do a mole burger? That would have been fine. What was not fine was . . .

burger choco

Honey mustard grilled chicken and Ghana Chocolate sauce, the horror.

It could just be that I am not built to eat Lotteria. The chicken sandwich was offensive before I even opened the chocolate. Half of the meat was actually fat and skin, and the bun was already getting soggy from the mayo splotch and sweet mustard sauce. The lettuce was entirely too biological in its sliminess.

ugh

Do you have the will to sauce this monster?

The chocolate itself, a collaboration with Lotte brand Ghana Chocolate, is a consistency between shampoo and pudding. If that meant something silky and luxurious, maybe it would be okay, but instead it significantly upped the grossness factor of this sandwich, without really adding anything so mind-blowing.

blergh

There, there. The nightmare is almost over.

As I bit in, it was as if a blister popped. Was this thing advertised with a “juicy hot chicken oil center”?! I don’t think so!

After the initial shock I tried to focus on the interaction of the mustard and the chocolate, but quite frankly, the mayonnaise got in the way. The bit of spice might have been the beginning of something interesting flavor-wise, but if that were the object, why honey mustard? Wouldn’t the chocolate have been sweet enough?

Lotteria has been doing fries with the Ghana Chocolate sauce for a couple weeks now, but we didn’t go there. Neither did the Ghana Chocolate pie seem terribly appetizing after this wreck of a sandwich. So, my advice to you this Valentine’s Day week is to go stand in line for a box of real cacao lovin’, because the chocolate honey mustard grilled chicken burger is only fit for batsu game punishment.

Bandai’s projection-mapping candy toy: Hako Vision

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Bandai’s Candy Toy division is known for those inexpensive character-driven toys packaged with just enough sugar to score shelf space where food is sold so that parents can use them to reward kids for being good at the grocery store. Their anime tie-up rosters includes Kamen Rider, Pokémon, Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, One Piece, Yokai Watch and more. With the initial round of Hako Vision releases, however, they’re doing something a little different. Did you ever imagine you’d be watching recreations of popular projection-mapping shows rigged up with your smartphone and a cardboard box? While chewing grape-flavored gum?!

You can think of it as the latest evolution of shokugan (“candy toy”) culture that supposedly has its roots in Meiji Era collectible cards that came packed in cigarettes (definitely not for kids), or a new direction in diorama construction for the 21st century. As of Jan. 27, there are two kits available for ¥500 each: Tokyo Michiterasu 2012 “Tokyo Hikari Vision” and the Tokyo National Museum’s ”Karakuri” (2013). The package itself  is the stage for the miniaturized versions of these special events (“hako” means “box”), so don’t go tearing it up to get inside. Once you set up the scale model of the building to be projected on and the reflecting panel, all you need is the lighting, which you provide by pulling up a specially made video on your smartphone and laying it on top like a roof to your cardboard theater.

Projection-mapping itself seems to be all over the place lately. Even just in the past several months The Japan Times has noted Tower of the Sun Beam Painting, Art Aquarium 2013, “live” Hatsune Miku shows presented by NTT Docomo, and Yokohama Odyssey. On the horizon, Disney (pioneering projection-mapping tech for years — since building the Haunted Mansion ride in 1969 according to Projection Mapping Central) is debuting a new show mapped to Cinderella’s Castle at Tokyo Disneyland May 29th.

As for the future of Hako Vision itself, Bandai already has big plans. Instead of just continuing to reproduce shows people have already seen life size, they’re creating original videos to go with Mobile Suit Gundam figures. Giant mecha familiar to fans of the anime, Gundam and Zaku II, each get their own video helmed by creative director Ryotaro Muromatsu of Naked Inc., the same company that produced the video for “Tokyo Hikari Vision.” The new kits go on sale April 14.

Needless to say, if Hako Vision catches on, the licensing possibilities at Bandai are nearly endless. And now that the kits are out in the wild it’s not hard to imagine fans of the tech creating their own models and fantastic videos to go with them.

 

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