Tuesday, December 4, 2007

We now return to your regularly scheduled program

The Angry guy from the last post is the Hamburger Kid, a character from the children's cartoon Anpanman.
Anyone with small children in Japan has seen this show at least once, the namesake main character pictured above. For some reason, and not brilliant sinister marketing (I was a Tobacco brand marketeer for 5 years- I've been on the lookout) Japanese kids go through an Anpanman stage, my daughter is no exception. The basic storyline of almost every episode is the same:

1. Baikinman (yes bacteria-baikin) starts some trouble.
2. Anpanman comes to the rescue, but his head gets wet, or dented, or dirty (which causes him to lose all of his power) from something that baikinman does.
3. Someone is sent off to get JamOjisan's help (consisting of baking Anpanman a new head)
4. Anpanman gets his new head and then polishes Baikinman off with his AnPunch! (after being hit, Baikinman always exclaims "BaiBai-kin"(yes a play on words of bye bye and baikin, oh how clever).
5. The world is now back in order again until the next 15min. episode.
(oh, yeah, I almost forgot the thing where he rips off parts of his face to give to people to eat(well he IS made of Anpan after all)

Since I know the majority of readers to this site are either single, aren't parents yet, or not high, here is a glorified edited version I found on Youtube that you should find at least palatable.

My first reaction to the show was indifference; just another kids show that becomes the black hole that sucks the money from your wallet faster than a night in Roppongi. They've got everything from DVD's (we own 5, have rented over 50), stuffed animals (yeah, got the whole collection), cups, towels, books, toothbrushes, pajamas, the list goes on and on in the Japanese tradition of taking a cute mascot and slapping it on absolutely everything ala hello kitty

But when the kid's into it, and with over 2,000 individual characters (which just happens to coincide with the number of Joyou Kanji characters, but I digress) to memorize, I've found myself being able to do more than just go-along; I've actually started to enjoy this dumb-ass show too...

So with all this merchandising, what's left? Why of course, to complete the formula one needs to have a theme park. And the Yokohama Anpanman Museum just opened this year and that's where I took the family last week.

I have to say it was a lot of fun, and only 1,000 yen admission. The shops are all located outside of the pay area so you can buy useless crap at your leisure. If you have a 2-4yr old and live anywhere near Yokohama definitely check it out. Some of the cool stuff they have:

Make your own DVD of you in an Anpanman episode (3,500 yen): yes we did it, it involved greenscreens and was cool, though now I have to watch it with the daughter almost every night. Great memorabilia though! I'd of course post it on Youtube so you all could laugh at me, but alas, it's copyright protected and I wouldn't want to break that right?

JamOjisan's bakery: Since a lot of the characters are made out of bread, how fitting they have a bakery outside of the museum. All of the pastries are shaped like the characters, are only 100 yen a pop, and actually taste good too.

Check out the HP at http://www.yokohama-anpanman.jp/main.html

One other reason to tolerate the show is with all the characters, you can always find one that reminds you of someone you know. Takers on who the guy on the left could be?


Laura said...

Haha - is that a fanny pack around his waist I see?

shinykaro said...

Wow. I think baking new body parts is a brilliant idea. When will modern medicine catch up?

Zach said...

Yay! I can comment now! Um... AnpanMan is weirder than I thought.