Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Anime and Manga Food Tie-ins
(Evangelion can coffee, and other various cookies and snacks)
Akihabara is a great place to find different food, drink and snack tie-ins to various anime and manga. It's not because this is an "otaku heaven", but because there are several large chain stores all within walking distance of each other. Most of the big chains have the same products, and you can find locations in Ikebukuro, Nakano, Yokohama, Kawasaki and other major cities in Japan (interestingly, it looks like the big manga bookstore chain, Manga no Mori, doesn't have a store in Akihabara).
Not technically anime-related, I did decide to write about "Gear" here. This is Georgia Co.'s latest entry in the vending machine coffee market. Normally, vending machines only sell 6 ounce cans for 120 yen. This one's about 12 ounces for 150 yen. But, the bottle is the main selling point - it's "designed to be fun for driving" and it has "two grip positions" - around the neck and over the top. I had to buy this just for the bottle. The coffee itself is nothing special.
Georgia seems to be in the running for "most new products out at one time". Here we have jelly coffee. This is coffee-flavored jello in a can. The directions tell you to shake it up really good before opening. If you don't, you better have a straw ready because you're going to be faced with a block of unmovable jello sitting in a can. It's an interesting concept, but I'd rather just buy a package of coffee jelly and eat it with a spoon, like normal.
Next we have the "Lucky Star Cornucopia Cakes". I first discovered the Lucky Star TV series a couple of months ago, and watched it non-stop on my MP3 player on the trains while commuting to work. I consider it to be a very funny send-up of anime, manga and video game fans. The main character is an incredibly down-to-earth fan girl whose favorite snack is a "cornucopia bread" with a chocolate cream filling. So, when I saw the Lucky Star cakes, I had to try them. They're more like slightly crunchy cookies with a paste center, and aren't in the proper conch shape. But they're still pretty tasty.
Here, we have "Akiba Nyan Nyan" (which translates to "Akihabara Meow Meow"). This is a banana creme-filled bread in the shape of a banana, created to promote Akihabara as a souvenir. It's not too bad. Not sure why it's being branded as a "cat girl product", though.
(Box for bean paste-filled mochi)
Lastly, we have some products that come from the Machiko Hasegawa Art Gallery, in Setagaya Ward, just west of Shibuya (not available in Akihabara). I wrote about the Hasegawa Art Gallery a few weeks back. Machiko was the creator of the famous "Sazae-san" series, and she was a big art collector. The gallery was her way of making her collection available to the public. In one corner of the gallery is a small gift shop that sells only Sazae-san-related products, including copies of the manga, snacks and toys.
(Rice crackers in character shapes)
(Small breads with chocolate and vanilla creme fillings)