So there’s anime and video game merchandise and advertising all over Japan, like you’d expect, and a lot of it I recognize. There’s Pokemon, Fullmetal Alchemist, D. Grey Man, Dragon Ball, Dragon Quest, Gundam 00, Evangelion, Naruto, and Final Fantasy stuff all over the place. There’s a fair amount of Moyashimon, Phoenix Wright, and Naoki Urasawa stuff, which surprised me for some reason – I’d somehow thought those would be more niche concerns. Apparently Beyblade still exists in the public consciousness here. I haven’t seen many Vampire Knight keychains and stuff, but the new volumes and issues of its magazine are always prominently displayed.
Still, most of the stuff I’m really majorly obsessed with – say, Claymore and Kaoru Mori and Moyoco Anno – does not get out much. Today I saw a girl on the train reading Otomen, and was startled because I actually knew what that was.
I thought I was a real nerd, so it was vaguely threatening to me to find that the most popular anime in Japan right now is apparently something called Home Tutor Hitman Reborn. I finally took a picture of a poster and went home and looked it up, because the art looks extremely Shounen Jump-standard, and I thought the title was too fanciful for that. No, I read the first volume, and it actually does start out as a gag thing where some kid’s tutor turns out to be a hitman. It’s one of those series like Bleach where it gets closer to the magazine’s formula as the series goes on, I’m guessing.
There’s also Fresh Pretty Cure, which is basically Sailor Moon except they transform into people named after fruit and other vegetation. Conan’s goodbye card was on Fresh Pretty Cure stationary – she named all the characters for me and got very upset when I thought one of them was named “Pie.” Obviously she was “Pine.” And there’s something called Black Butler that looks like someone went “you know, Kaori Yuki is really too honest about her own mental problems to be properly slick and commercial,” which I nonetheless will probably end up reading. I think Pandora Hearts is based on both that train of thought and also “Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle needs to be more English. Like – with tea parties and shit.” (I’ve actually read some of that one, shockingly! I just keep forgetting because it looks just like everything else.) And something called “Basara” that doesn’t look like the real Basara. I get to define what’s the real Basara, shut up. I don’t know what’s the title of the game with the uncanny valley porn mermaid, and I’m not looking it up.