The popularity of anime and related culture throughout Japan has led to anime-style visual images being used in all kinds of general marketing, including En-Tenshoku, a company specializing in “career change” job placement, which uses a smartly-dressed moe female office worker to appeal to their target audience. Anime has become extremely important to convenience stores, who market themselves to otakus using product placement as well as tie-ups with animation studios. When the Lawson convenience store chain held a “Kantai Collection fair,” stocking limited KanColle-themed snacks and other products for three days only, popularity exploded, and created a popular Pixiv art meme of Kashima working as a Lawson store clerk that represented millions in free advertising for the chain.
It’s fun to analyze the way anime companies go about creating characters that will win the hearts of fans. One popular approach is to mix up an all-Japanese cast by adding in a character of mixed ancestry, called ハーフ haafu. The Japanese tend to idolize haafu as being the perfect blend of East and West, combining proper Japanese sensibilities with language fluency and the magic ability to do what they themselves cannot, ignore the restrictive rules society is always imposing on them. In popular culture, haafu characters are often portrayed as highly skilled, and characters like Asuka from Evangelion, Sawamura Eriri from Saekano, Yomiko Readman from Read or Die and the famous Lupin III all have skills most of us could only dream of having. (Full Japanese who are raised abroad, like Makise Kurisu, also manage to develop these unique abilities somehow.) The new Godzilla film even has one, Kayoko Ann Patterson, an extremely competent Japanese woman who was raised in America.
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