It’s been a while since I just wrote a blog post that wasn’t a review! The news that Hello Kitty was appointed as the Copyright PR Ambassador of Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs seemed like the perfect time to mention my latest co-authored article on the Sanrio series Sanrio Danshi… Well, that news came out in August, and my article came out all the way back in April, so it’s not exactly timely, but time doesn’t pass the way it usually does in 2020, right?Read More
Category Archives: Sanrio
Japan Envy: The GUEST x Little Twin Stars Café Collaboration
Since I’m creeping closer and closer to my July trip to Tokyo, I figured I wouldn’t be doing many Japan Envy posts, considering I’ll likely be able to experience many of the things I generally write about in this column when I’m there. Fortunately for you and unfortunately for me, however, one of the café collaborations I’m currently pining over is scheduled to finish on July 7th (five days before I arrive!), which means we can sigh at the loveliness we’ll never get to experience together!
The adorable duo Kiki and Lala of Little Twin Stars were never really on my radar as a Hello Kitty-loving adolescent, but now that I’m older and really into pastels for some inexplicable reason, I think it’s safe to say that the Little Twin Stars are my favorite Sanrio characters. Thus, when I saw that The GUEST café & diner in Tokyo would be doing a Little Twin Stars collaboration, I was utterly thrilled! While I’ve always been a huge fan of café collaborations, I think The GUEST takes the idea to the next level with its attention to detail and presentation!
There is even a statue of Kiki and Lala to take photos with upon entering the café, and apparently the staff are happy to take your photo for you if you ask. Since I’ll never get to experience this lovely café, I’m very thankful for the numerous posts filled with awesome photos from people who have gone themselves!
At your table, you’ll be treated to a Kiki and Lala placemat that you can take home after you’re finished your meal. If you get it dirty, you can just ask for a replacement and they’re happy to provide one. In addition to the placemat, you can score one of five original coasters (pictured above) with any drink order. I don’t think I’d be able to bring myself to use them!
But really, we’re all here for the food, right? And it certainly doesn’t disappoint! This fruit crepe looks both cute and extremely delicious.
I also love the look of this mini burger set. I wonder what a pink star bun tastes like?
And of course there are themed lattes! Not only are designs on the drink adorable, but check out the phrase on the mug: “All you need is love & coffee”! Sounds about right to me!
The manager even has Little Twin Stars-themed nails! Honestly, everything about the presentation of this café is irresistible. There’s lots more to see that I haven’t included, so definitely go check out Matcha and Tokyo Otaku Mode for more images and details about the café! Of course they’re also selling numerous exclusive Little Twin Stars merchandise that I’m sure I’d have to buy all of if I were actually able to attend this collaboration event. Even though they won’t be having this event while I’m in Tokyo, I think I’ll still stop by The GUEST café & diner to see how it stacks up!
Japan Envy: Tie-in merchandising
One thing I inexplicably love about Japan its merchandise. I’m sure tons of essays have been written on the subject before, but as I haven’t read any of them, suffice it to say I don’t really know why it is they do merchandise so well. Just that they do. Leave it to Japan to create the cutest products out of the most mundane household goods and combine Hello Kitty with just about anything you can imagine.
|Yup, that’s Hello Kitty dressed as an anime character (source)|
This latest Japanese tie-in merchandising scheme is close to my heart for a number of reasons: First, it’s combining books and video games, which are undoubtedly two of my favourite things. New Love Plus, the sequel to everyone’s favourite Nintendo DS dating sim that has you interacting with your virtual girlfriend day in and day out, has put a new spin on things. In the game, you will be encouraged to read a book alongside your virtual gal in a series of in-game events, and she’ll even ask you questions about the material as a way to gauge your interest. The three books chosen include Anne of Green Gables and two contemporary Japanese titles. While anyone could go pick up a second hand copy of these titles for next to nothing, Konami and Kodansha have a better idea: they’re marketing limited New Love Plus-themed copies of the books.
|Anne of Green Gables featuring one of the New Love Plus ladies (source)|
The New Love Plus art will be on a dust jacket, so you will be able to remove it to see the original cover art underneath.
Now, the other reason this is so interesting to me is albeit a personal one: My mom is a big fan of Anne of Green Gables, and often cites it as a reason why she named me Anne (with an “e,” of course!). We even ventured to her house up in Prince Edward Island (or is it the author’s house?) back when I was too little to remember much of anything and spotted a Japanese couple getting married there! If you haven’t noticed, Japan is in love with Anne of Green Gables. I think this must be some sort of sign.
Anyways, I totally dig this sort of cross merchandising, and yet the Japanese seem to consistently be the only ones who get it right. Even though I’m not really interested in New Love Plus, I might have been drawn to purchase said book… I often think it’s a very good thing I don’t live in Japan, as I’d be wallowing in piles of useless stuff.
What do you think – is tie-in merchandise corny, or cool?
Japan Envy: My Melody x Felyne
It’s no secret that I’m enamored with the Monster Hunter series mascot Felyne. Admittedly, I have yet to actually play a Monster Hunter game (though I do own one), but I most certainly keep my eye out for all things Felyne. Cute is my calling, after all!
So when I saw Sanrio announced that they would be producing a special line of My Melody and Felyne merchandise that will hit Japanese stores starting in August, how could I not be excited? I mean, look at these designs:
I have to say I’ve never been a huge fan of Kuromi (the back and white one), but man, those pink and brown critters are to die for. I particularly like the left design, which is a Felyne dressed up as My Melody, if you’re wondering. I’m not sure what it is about animals wearing other animal’s faces that is so endearing, but believe me, I am sold.
Monster Hunter Diary G already had some My Melody downloadable content last year, so this crossover is by no means a surprise. Now, however, legions of men, women, and children across Japan will be able to purchase Felyne and My Melody in the form of accessories, clothing, stationary, and probably just about anything you can imagine. For an idea of what the goods will look like, check out this Hello Kitty x Felyne series that ran last year: