Month: December 2014

My Favorite Youkai Watch Youkais

One of the big hits in Japan this year was Youkai Watch (妖怪ウォッチ), the insanely popular video game/anime/toy series. There are TWO Youkai Watch corners planned for this year’s Kohaku Utagassen (紅白歌合戦) (one each for the otherwise unknown singers of Youkai Watch’s theme songs, King Cream Soda [キング・クリームソーダ] and Dream5, each with Arashi [嵐] to give them a hand/give adults something to look at). McDonald’s Japan’s yearly calendar, which has been Pokemon-themed for years, is Youkai Watch-themed this year. Youkai Watch will definitely hit the US in 2015.

I played the first game on 3DS. It’s a pretty fun game, although it’s a bit easy since it’s for kids, and it’s such a Pokemon rip-off I’m surprised that Game Freak doesn’t sue (why would a youkai evolve??). But the character design is adorable! So I want to introduce you to some of my favorite youkai.

Yametaishi (やめたい師)

やめたい師

Yametaishi is my favorite youkai, and as far as I can tell, he has a popularity ranking of about zero. Listen to his voice! Look at those eyebrows! His name is a pun on “yametai shi (辞めたいし/I wanna quit)” and “shi (師),” which denotes a master. He evolves from “Tsudzukanasou (つづかな僧),” which is also a pun (almost all youkai names are puns) translating to “I probably won’t keep it up.”

Hikikoumori (ヒキコウモリ)

Hikikoumori

Hikikoumori’s name is a combination of “hikikomori (引きこもり),” which is the name for people afflicted with such terrible anxiety that they never leave their house, and “koumori (コウモリ),” which means “bat.” It’s a very obvious pun, but it works. I really like how Hikikoumori’s wings are blankets, and she stays wrapped up in them. She looks so cozy!

Zukyukyunta (ズキュキュン太)

zukyukyunta

♥♥♥ KYAAAAAAAAAAA!!! ♥♥♥

More Japanese Skaters in Commercials

Before, I introduced Yuzuru Hanyu’s (羽生結弦) all-singing no-skating gum commercial, but turns out that was just part of a greater trend of Japanese figure skaters doing things other than skating in commercials. Today, I have two more to show you.

One this commercial for cold medicine Stona (ストナ) starring Mao Asada (浅田真央) and her sister Mai Asada (浅田舞). Like Hanyu, Asada sings in this commercial, but she doesn’t sell it as well as Hanyu does.

Lacking singing yet far sillier is the series of commercials for the lottery, Takarakuji (宝くじ), where shogun-descendent-and-former-Olympic-skater-cum-variety-show-fixture Nobunari Oda (織田信成), along with Kayoko Ookubu (大久保佳代子), join a long-running campaign starring Taizou Harada (原田泰造) and Ryouko Yonekura (米倉涼子) to advertise the year-end lottery (年末ジャンボ/nenmatsu jumbo). The commercials play on Nobunari Oda’s reputation as a crybaby, which he often takes advantage of for comedic effect on variety shows.

There were lots of new faces on and near the podium for the All-Japan Championships this weekend. It’ll be fun to see what commercials the new kids find themselves in in the coming years.