Posts Tagged ‘Evangelion’

Corporate brands drawn to anime’s selling power

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Tiger & Bunny,” which just ended its first season, has been one of the most popular anime releases this year, despite that fact that contained blatant product placement for Calbee, Softbank, Pepsi and Bandai. The show features superheros called NEXT who perform acts of bravery about the futuristic city of Stirnbild, earning points as they do so. As their activities are filmed on TV in this fictional world, each hero is sponsored by a different company and sports the logos of  a sponsor.

Characters include Pepsi’s Blue Rose and Rock Baison, a bull-themed hero who  advertises the yakiniku restaurant Gyu-kaku. According to Tokyo Walker, fans of Rokku Baison have even affectionately nicknamed him Gyu-kaku -an. These companies are keen to capitalize on their involvement in the show: Pepsi is running ads featuring Blue Rose (see above) and Gyu-kaku are offering discount vouchers for a special Rokku Baison set meal (a pretty good deal for yakiniku lovers btw).

Despite anime characters being used to sell just about anything in Japan via product tie-ins, product placement within a contemporary anime is unusual, according to Nico Nico Pedia. One reason is that anime creators believe this would turn off fans, another reason is that once the toy industry got involved in anime and tokusatsu, toy companies had strong objections to introducing other products onto a show, so instead sponsers names were announced at the beginning and end of ad breaks.

Continue reading about product placement in anime →

Upmarket and themed karaoke spaces

Friday, August 5th, 2011

In recent years we’ve seen celebrities “design” perfumes and clothes collections, but we haven’t seen a celebrity designed karakoke space before until we stumbled on this piece in Tokyo Walker. The article explains how singer, gravure idol and actress Kie Kitano has produced a super girly karaoke room for Jankara karaoke in Sangenjaya.

The pastel-colored room, which contains stuffed bears and comfy sofas, is just one of many in the store that are decorated with a little more class than your average karaoke booth. Jankara are pushing the concept of Rirakara (relaxing karaoke); using better quality décor and furnishings, it looks like they’re aiming to attract a more mature crowd than giggling gangs of high school students. Rooms themed on the ’80s and ’90s cater to those nostalgic for their childhood, with hit-record lists, anime figures and plastic models of that era prominently displayed. Other rooms include a tasteful tatami room and a four seasons room.

High-end karaoke booths exist elsewhere, however, as do themed rooms. Bagus, for instance, run a classy karakoke facility in upmarket Hibiya. Marble tabletops and sleek metallic surfaces are a world away from your typical karaoke environment. In terms of concept booths, my favorite has to be the Evangelion room at Pasela Akiba. The same building houses a variety of other themed booths, so if you’re not an anime freak, they’ll still be something to tickle your fancy.

Visitors to Tokyo might also want to pop into Karaoke-kan in Shibuya. Not only do they have a variety of groovy rooms, but its also the location where Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray got their groove on in “Lost in Translation.”

Have you ever stumbled across an unusual karaoke room? Let us know.

Anime fan pilgrimages help boost tourism

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

A new anime set in Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture, seems set to revitalize the city’s flagging tourist industry. Since the anime “Yosuga no Sora” (above) went on air Oct. 4 the local government and tourist office of Ashikaga have been deluged with enquiries about visiting the city. But it isn’t the first case of popular anime sparking a boom in local tourism, as Kuki, Hakone and Kyoto have all become popular destinations among hardcore anime fans.

Perhaps the biggest success story is Washinomiya, a beautiful shrine located in Kuki, Saitama Prefecture, that provided the backdrop for “Lucky Star.” The surge in tourists has revitalized the town, partly thanks to sales of  “Lucky Star” branded souvenirs. Even the mikoshi at a local festival this year was decorated with “Lucky Star” characters.

In November the area will host a special matchmaking event called otakonkatsu” (organized dating for otaku), providing an opportunity for single shy anime fans to hook up. Interest in the event saw daily visits to the chamber of commerce and industry’s website rise from around 500 to over 10,000, though some men were peeved that women could attend for free whereas men have to shell out ¥8,000 to participate.

Though already a popular tourist spot, Hakone is getting an extra boost from “Evangelion” fans who often make a pilgrimage to the area to view places featured in the smash hit anime. There’s now an official map of the area especially for fans called the Hakone Hoken Map.

Kyoto, featured recently in both the hugely popular “K-On” and in the cult hit “The Tatami Galaxy,” is another well-established tourist destination that’s profiting from otaku tourism. Earlier this year we reported that “K-On” fans were putting up ema plaques at a shrine featured in an episode depicting a “K-On” school trip. (If you’d like to visit these spots yourself check out The K-On Guide to Kyoto.) More recently, “The Tatami Galaxy,” which is set entirely in Kyoto, was featured in the travel issue of Spoon magazine, which included a travel guide to the sites shown in the cartoon.

Tourism tie-ups aren’t limited to anime/manga. As Pulse, and everybody’s blogging brother, reported in August,  fans of Konami’s virtual dating game Love Plus got a chance to live out their fantasy dates in Atami (the latest version of the game Love Plus + featured an option to go sightseeing in the seaside resort town). Fans who went on the tour could take augmented reality photos of their Love Plus girlfriends, fill in a special stamp book at sightseeing spots and buy Love Plus/Atami souvenirs. The augmented reality photos, available to iPhone customers, superimpose an image of your virtual date onto the actual background, though it was noted by Game Watch, that there were some proportional glitches. In one instance, the digital girlfriend appeared to be as tall as a building in the real-world backdrop. Bug or a programmer’s private joke – you decide.

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