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Pack of Cute Guys Puts the "Gum" into "Shinsengumi"

posted on by Eric Stimson
Third incarnation of "Gum Boyfriends" project

If you've ever developed romantic feelings for your chewing gum, then it's likely that you're a big fan of Gum Kare! (or Gum Boyfriends), a project by the food corporation Lotte that anthropomorphizes Japanese gum brands into cute boys. The project was launched in 2014 and includes six gum-based characters. The main character is an "extremely ordinary schoolgirl" who for some reason has become a tooth. It's up to her to choose which slab of freshness to bite down on.

The latest incarnation of this bizarre campaign sees the schoolgirl-tooth transported to the Bakumatsu era (the final years of the Tokugawa shogunate), where her beauty and "oriental mystery" quickly catch the eye of a traveling weapon merchant from the Grammatic Kingdom named Grammar (Jun Fukuyama). Oh no! He's about to take her away, when the Shinsengumi, a famous squad of assassins who worked for the shogunate, arrive to save her. They are none other than the Gum Boyfriends in a new guise: Cool Hijikata (Hiroshi Kamiya; based on Cool Mint gum and Toshizō Hijikata), ACUO Okita (Yuuki Kaji; based on ACUO gum and Sōji Okita), Green Yamanami (Kenichi Suzumura; based on Green Gum and Keisuke Yamanami), Xylitol Saitō (Tomokazu Sugita; based on Xylitol gum and Hajime Saitō), Fit's Tōdō (Hiro Shimono; based on Fit's gum and Heisuke Tōdō), and Black Harada (Kazuya Nakai; based on Black Black gum and Sanosuke Harada).

"We will protect the Mouth Capital!" they declare. But Grammar doesn't seem about to back down! What will happen? Find out in the radio show broadcast on February 10 at 7 PM Japan Time on Bunka Hōsō.

The Shinsengumi are a popular subject of historical fiction in Japan, although they are usually very romanticized. Besides their prominent role in Gintama, Peacemaker Kurogane and Hakuōki, they appear in a recent web anime produced by the History Department at Kobe Women's University.

[Via Man Tan Web; Images from Gum Kare! official website]

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