Put Down That Romantic Manga, Nanako and Her Panda Puppet Need to Talk to You About Tea

Posted by Michael Pinto on Mar 29, 2010 in Japanese TV

This very strange Kirin Green Tea ad from 2003 features Nanako Matsushima (松嶋菜々子). Apparently the young lad is getting his romantic advice from a manga, so our fashion model hero knocks him to the floor and then gives him tea tips with the help of her panda puppet. The entire sequence is very strange to say the least, and yet making it even odder is that we never see the panda puppet or the tea in the establishing shot with Nanako: Read more…

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The Boss of Singing Firemen

Posted by Michael Pinto on Mar 24, 2010 in Japanese TV

Boss is one of my favorite canned coffee beverages so this Japanese advert caught my attention right away. What I find interesting about this spot is that as the camera pulls out I was expecting to see some sort of visual explanation as to why the singing fireman was wrapped up in his hose — but alas with a zen like quality that answer is never given. Read more…

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You Know Your Girlfriend Really Loves You When Your Co-Workers are Animals

Posted by Michael Pinto on Mar 22, 2010 in Japanese TV

You know you’re watching a Japanese commercial when a workaholic’s girlfriend stops by with a spot of tea and doesn’t seem to notice anything that’s slightly odd about the fact that your two co-workers are in fact a cat and a goose. Credit for this fun spot belongs to Aflac in Japan: Read more…

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Touched by Romantic Retro Anime

Posted by Michael Pinto on Mar 18, 2010 in Animation, Japanese TV

Touch is a manga that ran in Japan from 1981 until 1986 in Weekly Shone Sunday, along with Urusei Yatsura it was on of the most popular comics in that magazine during the early 80s. The manga which became an anime series in 1985 was a combination of baseball with romanic comedy. What’s cool about this commercial is that you can see the wide range of merchandise the show inspired — from a musical album to a “Happy Bag” of goodies that was sold through the Japanese drug store chain Lawson. I love the added touch of having the two characters from the show standing outside an anime version of the drugstore in the last shot. Read more…

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Double Dames Dolled Up for Ramen

Posted by Michael Pinto on Mar 17, 2010 in Japanese TV

Both of these quirky ramen commercials are from a 1998 campaign for Nissin. The first spot where the two ladies magically acquire cat ears stars Kikuti Momoko and Miyuki — and of course I love how the second advert makes a Marilyn Monroe reference: Read more…

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Boogie Woogie for Mabinogi

Posted by Michael Pinto on Mar 16, 2010 in Japanese TV, Videogames

This is a very clever rhyming ad for Mabinogi from Japan which is an anime themed RPG game that you can play online. The game was developed in South Korea by devCAT and is published by Nexon — the good news for Americans is that the game is available in English, however if you’re a Mac user the bad news is that the game is Windows only. Read more…

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A Moving Meow March

Posted by Michael Pinto on Mar 15, 2010 in Japanese TV

Ikuzo Yoshi and Yuki Nae star in this very silly 1995 Japanese advert for the Yamato Transport Co. Their cat suits are a reference to the company logo which features a mother cat transporting a baby kitten. My favorite part of this commercial is when after marching across the screen they then scurry back accompanied by a cartoonish sound effect. Read more…

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Snapshots of My Space Station Vacation

Posted by Michael Pinto on Mar 10, 2010 in Japanese TV

This Canon Autoboy Luna camera commercial from 1996 has everything that a fanboy would want in life: A chance to get to hang out at a space station with a pretty model and her adorable doggie! By the way I half suspect that the space station motif was inspired by the Michael Jackson music video Scream which came out about a year before this — and of course that production owed a great deal to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Read more…

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The Pepper and Cheese Aliens Are Your Ramen Friends

Posted by Michael Pinto on Mar 5, 2010 in Japanese TV

Yes this Nissin ramen commercial starts out quite normally, but then it quickly travels from the Swiss alps to the Twilight Zone. So like little Miss Muffet our ski bunny is in the middle of a forest enjoying her warm but somewhat lackluster noodles: And then suddenly behind the trees appear two Kamen Rider villains, one with a pepper grinder head and the other with a cheese head. These two villains of lackluster instant noodles then attack her meal by zapping it with extra delicious flavor. Our heroine then goes on to enjoy her Milk Seafood Noodles as if nothing abnormal had occurred. Read more…

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A Yummy Yogurt Drink Claymation

Posted by Michael Pinto on Mar 4, 2010 in Animation, Japanese TV

I’ve got to admit that not that I’ve started to fall in love with Japanese stop motion animation that I can’t stop looking for it on YouTube. This latest advert that I came across is done with claymation and while it has a very kawaii quality to the animation the character designs (or what happens to them) don’t look too typical of what you’d associate with anime. The animation itself is selling a yogurt drink called Yakult mill mill (ヤクルト ミルミル) which uses bifidobacteria to clean your intestines. Another thing I like about this spot is that compared to American ads for similar products like Activa this spot seems so much more entertaining. Read more…

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The Tokyo Sky Tree: Soon To Be the Tallest Building in Japan

Posted by Michael Pinto on Mar 1, 2010 in Japanese TV

This cute animated commercial for the Tokyo Sky Tree (東京スカイツリー) which when it opens in the spring of 2011 will be the tallest building in Japan. The groundbreaking for the structure was started in 2008 and the construction is being backed a group of six terrestrial broadcasters (including NHK) who will use it to transmit digital television signals. If you’d like to see the ongoing construction of the building the webcam is here. And here’s a computer rendering to give you an idea of the scale and design of the building: Read more…

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Veggies Await Their Sad Ramen Fate

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 28, 2010 in Japanese TV

The old vegetarian admonishment is “never eat anything with a face” — so of course looking at these very kawaii veggies heading to their doom makes me feel a tad guilty. This spot was done for Acecook which makes a wide assortment of ramen. Read more…

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Samurai Cats Love Their Space Heaters

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 26, 2010 in Animation, Japanese TV

The quality of this Dainichi stop motion animation commercial for Blue Heaters from 1987 is amazing — keep in mind that this was done several years before Tim Burton did The Nightmare Before Christmas in 1993. And what blows me away is that the entire commercial had to have been done without any computer help, not to mention is that it looks like they’re using a replacement technique similar to George Pál with his Puppetoons. Yet for all technique the advert is funny and fluid — it makes me wish that I knew the studio and could give proper credits. Read more…

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Anime Isn’t About the Complexity but the Storytelling

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 24, 2010 in Animation, Japanese TV

This animated Japanese commercial for Karno struck a real chord with me — the spot is so simple yet so very powerful. This advert is a real case of less is more as you have very graphic character designs accompanied by minimalist child’s sing song. Yet the story of a little girl crying and being cheered up by her mother offering her a candy is quite universal and heartwarming. People always identify the complexity of anime as a visual trademark, but having looked at quite a few educational animated segments from NHK I can tell you that isn’t the case. To me what sets anime apart is more than just the craftsmanship but also the storytelling. Read more…

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A Do-It-Yourself Super Realistic Bug Candy Kit from Japan

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 23, 2010 in Japanese TV

gummix-iconGummiX is the latest craze from Japan for kids: It’s a kit that allows you to make your own realistic bug candy. So it’s sort of like do-it-yourself gummy worms but allows you to cook up a wider range of more realistic critters. In fact the website shows kids decorating desserts with various candy bug toppings. Here are some screenshots from the official website to give you a better taste: Read more…

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Indiana Jones and the Japanese TV Station Mascot

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 22, 2010 in Japanese TV

OHK the mascot for the Okayama Broadcasting Co.The above ever so cute promo for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull features the official mascot for the Okayama Broadcasting Co. Apparently their mascot always exclaims Oh! in any situation including running away from a giant ball at an archeology site. There’s something so charming about the low quality animation being used on this spot which contrasts so well with a high budget Hollywood film trailer: Read more…

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Won’t You Join My Pocky Parade?

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 18, 2010 in Japanese TV

What’s not in the Pocky commercial? We have dancing salarymen, cosplay clad maid cafe maids, pram pushing mums and a fleet of taxi drivers who all feel the need to express their enthusiasm for their favorite snack! Read more…

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Highly Animated Hygiene

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 18, 2010 in Japanese TV

American tampon ads can have that “not fresh feeling” feel sometimes — however these two ads for unicharm are much more out there. The first one features a typical absorption theme but then ends with a zero gravity special effect. However the next advert doesn’t look like anything you’d see here in the States: Our protagonist is sleeping away happily while not being distracting by her stuffed doll collection which then animates to life and dances around her while she is asleep: Read more…

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Emoticon Sushi Rolls to Replace Twitter

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 11, 2010 in Fandom, Japanese TV, Tech

EmoticonSure everybody is making a fuss over Google Buzz, but the minute I watched this Emoticon Sushi Roll video by vlogger Taro I knew that I was looking at the next big thing in social media. When he’s not reinventing web 2.0 Taro has a YouTube channel which introduces folks to Japanese cooking. Being an artist my favorite dish is his Edvard Munch tribute: Read more…

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Relive 80s Anime with the GunBuster Pachinko Machine

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 9, 2010 in Animation, Japanese TV

GunbusterWhen I first came across this spot for the GunBuster Pachinko Machine I assumed that it dated from the 80s when the show first came out — but it seems that it’s part of a larger promotion that allows retro anime fans to watch the cult series online for free at this website! Aim for the Top! Gunbuster (トップをねらえ!) was quite a success for Gainax in the early days and the studio would go on to make other hits like Evangelion, FLCL and Mahoromatic to name a few. GunBuster was very typical of the shows from that era and featured giant robots, oversized insectoid space aliens and four lovely ladies who wear hot pink short shorts which match the new pachinko machine: Read more…

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Tasty Stop Motion Animation

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 7, 2010 in Animation, Japanese TV

For all of the advances with computer animation there’s something still charming about good old fashioned stop motion animation. This Honda advert from the year 2000 does a nice job of using candy to animate the typography for the ULTRA Step WGN. Although it should be noted that the candy in this spot isn’t mere decoration — it’s being used to emphasize both the range of colors the auto comes in and the fact that it’s a kid friendly mode of transportation. Read more…

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A Japanese Snuggle Bear

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 6, 2010 in Japanese TV

A little sample of Snuggle bear fabric softener from JapanIt’s someone surreal to hear the Snuggle bear (renamed ファーファ Fāfa) speak Japanese from this 1988 advert. Introduced in 1983 there was always something very creepy about this fabric softener mascot: I think it indirectly reminded many of us of the many horror films that featured puppets gone back like Talking Tina from the Twilight Zone and later Chucky from the 1988 film Child’s Play. Although anime fans should note that the original voice of the Snuggle bear was none other than Corinne Orr who provided the voice Trixie in Speed Racer and Nova in the third seson of Star Blazers. Read more…

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The Sad Tale of Tommy Lee Jones and His Coffee

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 2, 2010 in Japanese TV

It’s heartbreaking to watch the sad saga of Tommy Lee Jones in this 2006 Japanese commercial for boss coffee — I’m not even sure why he’s crying while watching the singer on TV, but it made me sad to think of an alternate universe where he exists as a Hollywood ex-pat collecting parking tickets in Tokyo. Of course I should feel sorry for myself: I love Boss coffee too, but at $2 for the small cans I’ve been cutting back due to the recession.

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The Ultimate Strange Ultraman Toy

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jan 28, 2010 in Hobbies and Collections, Japanese TV

Solar Powered Shaking and Nodding Toy Ultraman

This is such a strange bobble head: It’s suppose to be Ultraman however his head has been decapitated and replaced with an old school television set which is showing Ultraman on its screen. But making this toy even stranger is that the television head will shake and nod which is powered by solar power. Read more…

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