Posts Tagged ‘Disney’

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.

J-blip: The secret behind Disney + Gogo no Koucha

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Kirin is currently collaborating with Disney to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Disneyland. Not only are they giving away a grand prize of a 30-night stay for four at the DisneySea Hotel Miracosta, year-long passes to both parks and a resort giftcard worth a million yen, but each flavor of their popular Gogo no Koucha (“Afternoon Tea”) features a different character on the package:  the straight tea has Mickey Mouse; lemon has Winnie the Pooh; and milk has Donald Duck.

Recently, an observant fan noticed there are different numbers on each bottle and decided to investigate. To his delight he found  60 numbers on the the straight tea version and 18 on the lemon tea and milk tea. His interest piqued, he bought all of them and took photos of each in sequence.

Although it is hinted at on Gogo no Koucha’s site, only a clever and dedicated tea drinker would go to all this trouble. By lining up each “frame” in video form, he revealed short animations of each character.

While we’d like to praise this creative campaign, it’s a bit ironic considering Disney just laid off nine veteran hand-animators.

Hunting a golden Easter egg in Japan

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

During Easter, Disneyland is one of the few places you'll see Easter eggs in Japan

Though most Japanese are familiar with and celebrate Christmas and Halloween (as consumers at least), Easter has yet to impinge on the national conciousness in the same way. But it seems that Disney wants to do something about that. Since 2010 the company has been holding the Disney Easter Wonderland event which involves a parade and an egg hunt. So can Disney ignite interest in Easter in Japan?

According to a survey by Trend Souken, awareness of what Easter is all about is highest among women. In a survey of 300 people in their 20s and 30s, 49 percent of women said they had some idea of what Easter was about, compared to just 37 percent of men. However, what they think it’s about has far more to do with Disney’s message than the religious meaning of Easter. When asked what sprang to mind when they heard the word “Easter,” 89 percent checked “eggs.” Other items were “painting colorful eggs” (64 percent); “spring” (46 percent); “rabbit” (32 percent); and “egg hunt” (25 percent).

Religious connotations don’t really register in this survey report, which is good news for marketers. If more Japanese can be made aware of the fluffy side of Easter, then they’ll be more opportunities to sell cute Easter items and experiences. To some extent the market is already there, at least in Tokyo: 30 percent of respondants said that they had purchased such things as chocolate Easter eggs and in terms of Easter events, 23 percent said that they had participated in egg painting.

Though the potential is there for Japan, or at least its major cities, to adopt Easter in the same way that Halloween has been embraced, along with all the yummy sales opportunities that come hand in hand with that, domestic companies have yet to get behind this drive. Disney is leading this push, followed by Baskin Robbins’ Wonderful Easter campaign, offering Easter ice creams that come in an egg-shaped cups and two special Easter ice cream flavors. This year the foreign-owned Peninsula Hotel has also got in on the act and is selling chocolate Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies at its boutique cafe.

And beyond that? Not much is popping up on Pulse’s radar. Though this survey seems to indicate that young Japanese consumers are ready to spend money in the name of yet another foreign tradition, are Japanese companies ready to take the leap of, um, faith.

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