Nine is Better than One!
Japan is a character-lover’s paradise. They’re everywhere!
Sports teams of course have their own mascots (as they do around the world), but in Japan it goes much further: almost every company and product seems to have its own character – from pandas to unidentifiable creatures.
There are the very famous ones, the “tier one” characters. But there are far more characters populating tier 2, tier 3 and the lower realms of characterdom.
These are the characters that, for whatever reason, never quite make the leap to popularity. Their lack of appeal may be due to any one of a number of variables, but the bottom line is they simply don’t have that special formula or x-factor that would elevate them to iconic status.
Like these guys:
Nevertheless, such characters still appear on merchandise and in public and duly attract large groups of happy onlookers.
One new approach for such characters might be what I witnessed the other day: strength in numbers. Not one but a staggering nine characters from various locations paraded together as a group. The strategy seemed to be to overwhelm people with sheer variety.
And at first glance it seemed to be working, with hundreds of smiling people snapping hundreds of photos of the group as pretty girls in short skirts handed out stickers of the characters to passing shoppers.
But if we look further, we see the clear evidence that these characters are likely destined for life on the lower tiers.
One of the best ways to judge the quality of characters is by the reaction of children when confronted with these oversized real-life cartoons. And with these nine, the verdict seems to be an unequivocal rejection, as parents were forced to “encourage” their kids forward…