It’s interesting to analyze the humorous visual elements animators use to make their characters seem more alive. Like a character who wears glasses which conveniently fog up whenever they think of something ecchi or contemplate world domination, or the cute single fang visible in the mouths of female characters to show their wild nature, or the way air-headed characters will often have “antenna hair,” two stands of hair sticking up above their heads. Sometimes these visual gags can cause cultural confusion, like when Western fans first encountered the “anime sweat drop” back in the 90s, or the time my then 4-year-old daughter saw a toy of a WWII German airplane and declared, “This airplane is very upset,” thinking the Luftwaffe insignias on the plane were anime-style “anger marks.” In many anime series and visual novels, the stories are built around generic male “Joe Everyman” main characters who have no outstanding features, which enables Japanese fans to identify with them better, and also makes the female characters in the show seem more colorful and interesting by comparison. Sometimes they go so far as to draw the male character without his eyes, to increase his generic appeal.
The Olympics are coming to Tokyo in 2020, and Japanese are already buzzing about the coming wave of foreign visitors to their country. Business are making plans, too, hoping to profit from the increased tourist dollars that will be spent in the coming years. The other day I caught a TV show called Gaia no Yoake (Dawn of Gaia) that explored the steps businesses are taking to prepare for the coming increase in tourists, researching what aspects of Japan foreigners were most interested in. The camera crew followed the show’s host as he walked all around Tokyo, checking out high-end gifts shops in Asakusa or bento and kitchen products in Kappabashi or browsing Totoro and Ghibli products in shops near Tokyo Sky Tree. (Every time they went to a new shop, I smiled, because we invariably already had the items they were showcasing in stock on J-List.) Another area that’s been growing in popularity with foreigners is the traditional candy and snacks from the Showa Period known as dagashi, a category that includes everything from konpeito star candy to neri ame liquid candy you knead with chopsticks to the “dagashi bento box” of random snacks we sell. The show captured images of happy tourists from Switzerland sampling these traditional Japanese sweets.
We’ve been on a roll recently. We shipped the outstanding witch-raising game Girlish Grimoire Littlewitch Romanesque at the end of last year, which has sold so well we’ve sold through more than 75% of our limited editions (so grab one if you plan to). Then we announced that the total remake of Kana Imouto