Your Friend in Japan

Foreigners in Japanese Commercials, and How I Got Into “H” Games

Written by HotAnime

We just got done with the most successful Anime Expo in J-List’s history. Thanks, everyone who attended, for making it so awesome! We had a blast, meeting and greeting fans, selling our trademark visual novels and RPGs, taking pictures of Sonico cosplayers, and generally having a great time. The highlight of the show was having Sonicomi: Communication with Sonico in stock and shipping. Order it now!

During our industry panel, in which we announced some awesome upcoming games, we had some time left at the end so I did a short question-and-answer period. One person asked me how I happened to get into this line of work, and I thought I’d write about that here. The time was 1995, a year after the Internet really arrived in a big way, and I knew I wanted to do something with this interesting new medium. I loved anime, but didn’t want to get into any kind of work that couldn’t be done from Japan. That’s when I hit on the idea of finding “dating-sim game” companies who wanted to help develop a market for the games in English. I contacted a company called JAST, and the president had just the right kind of crazy, expansive personality that made him want to help me. Though I was optimistic as we released our first three games, it frankly took years for the games to get any traction, and we actually started J-List as a temporary project to tide us over while we waited for the games to take off. Twenty years later, of course, everyone knows about visual novels and related “H” game culture, and we’ve been able to bring you some really amazing titles, from Shiny Days to Steins;Gate, and now the Super Sonico game.

One fun aspect of living in Japan is seeing how many television commercials you can watch before coming across one featuring a famous famous foreign star pushing some product. It might be Leonardo DiCaprio plugging Jim Beam, or Brad Pitt drinking canned coffee, or a digitally resurrected Audrey Hepburn enjoying some refreshing Afternoon Tea by Kirin. Some companies develop reputations for being in love with foreign stars, like Suntory, which has paid actor Tommy Lee Jones to portray an alien observing life on planet Earth in their BOSS canned coffee commercials for years. Sometimes foreigners become famous in Japan by surprise, like Natalie Emmons, an American singer/songwriter who lived in Osaka and who speaks excellent Japanese. When she appeared in a series of TV commercials for a hotel finding website, her popularity went through the roof.

Order Super Sonico now, senpai!

The Sonicomi: Communication with Sonico is a fantastic new game in which you have to help Sonico’s career as a model. As her photographer, you’re responsible for deciding what kinds of photoshoots to do, including location, Sonico’s outfits and hair style, and so on, before moving on to the . We’ve got great news, too: a new Sonico Dakimakura with the original image by Tsuji Santa is now up for preorder.

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