You know you’re in Japan when you make a visit to the convenience store and see a huge plush character standing near the door to greet you. His name was Kuwamaru, one of the ubiquitous “yuru-chara” official mascots that promote tourism and local foods from rural towns and cities throughout Japan. Kuwamaru is a recently created character for our city of Isesaki, made to celebrate an old structure which recently won UNESCO Important Cultural Site recognition, the home of the man who introduced modern silk manufacture to Japan back in the 1870s. Wherever you come to Japan, you might see these cute yuru-chara characters in various places, promoting everything from traditional origami from Gunma to Green Tea Kit Kat from Kumamoto, in Southern Japan. Coming across one is always fun, like discovering that Pokemon are real.
First we had Shirobako, a great anime that showed us what goes on behind the scenes while anime is made. Then there was New Game!, an anime about the companies that make the games we all love to play, and the yuri-tastic relationships that (presumably) go on there. And now they’re Gi(a)rlish Number, aka Girlish Number, the story of Chitose Karasuma, a minor seiyu (voice actress) working for her brother’s talent agency. Chitose would like to be famous, though she’s lazy and cynical and would rather complain about how worthless the anime industry is than work hard to improve her own skills as a voice actress. So far I’m liking the characters, who are seem more realistic and less stylized than I expected. For example, when we meet the blonde-haired top seiyu Momoka, I assumed she’d be the bitchy tsundere rival for the main character, but she was actually kind, giving Chitose advice about how to get along with the other voice actresses. It’s a show about seiyu and idol culture with a dark and cynical twist which looks like it’ll have a lot to say about the industry in the coming episodes. I’ll keep watching Gi(a)rlish Number or sure!
Our new J-List Box monthly snack and other boxes are a big hit, and the first 500+ are shipping out to customers today. We’ve posted new boxes for November, with two amazing selections of wonderful Japanese snacks + drinks for your enjoyment, so browse and preorder now! We’ve got more good news: since the J-List twitter account recently passed 100,000 followers, we’ve got a $10 coupon for everyone! The code is JLIST100K, and it’s for $10 off $50 or more (any in stock or download product, sorry, not applicable on preorders or J-List Box items).