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7 Weird Anime Marketing Campaigns

by Lynzee Loveridge,

When an anime series reaches the pinnacle of popularity, there's nothing too sacred to slap a character's face on and make a few yen. Evangelion spawned more figures than Gainax knows what to do with since the series' premiered in the 90s, meanwhile mascots Hatsune Miku and Hello Kitty are appearing on pizza boxes and underwear across Japan. The following seven campaigns pushed some of the strangest official merchandise found on the internet.

7. Motor Oil (Lucky Star) In 2009, a series of eco-friendly motor oil jugs featuring Lucky Star characters went on sale across Japan. The oil company, knowing that you couldn't simply put adorable girls on motor oil and call it a day, also scented it. Each gallon sold for 2,520 yen (about $25) and came in aromatic mint or peach fragrances.

6. Questionable Sports Drink (Baki the Grappler) Keisuke Itagaki's super buff fighter Baki the Grappler representing his own sports drink seems natural for any athlete, real or otherwise. The contents of Premium Bandai's sports drink offering is where things get weird. Besides the standard vegetable and mineral ingredients, the drink claims to contain four venomous snake extracts: pit viper, cobra, habu, and black-banded sea krait. The product states the reptilian ingredients "promote amino acids, invigorate the central nervous system, raise vitality and promote survival." A set sold for about $51, but would you drink it?

5. Alien Face Hoodies (Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse) There's been some pretty cool hooded sweatshirts released by gaming and anime companies lately. The Mega-Man sweatshirt that included a buster gun was pretty awesome. Then, the Muv-Luv team put together some creepy alien hoodies based on enemies from the series. Other than turning the average wearer into a terrifying monster, the deluxe edition included some random accessories, like the ability to convert into a head pillow. Supporters, not satisfied with scaring their roommates and neighbors, created a flash mob and descended upon Tokyo's Nippon Budōkan arena.

4. Hand Puppets (K-On!) LAWSON convenience put together some pretty spectacular campaigns, specifically for K-On! The company has given away signed guitars and toasters along with stranger items like blow-up dolls, sausage muffins, and in this case, Muppet-esque hand puppets. The items were one the store chain's campaigns promoting the K-On! film where a lucky 40 winners got the pleasure of putting their hand up Azusa's skirt and making her mouth flap.

3. Tarot Cards (Hello Kitty) In an effort to further appeal to Japanese women, Sanrio collaborated with popular Japanese astrologer Ryugi Kagami to create an official set of Hello Kitty tarot cards. The set included the Major Arcana in all of Hello Kitty's signature cuteness and a book for beginniners explaining how to read the cards. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't find Sanrio's interpretation of Rider-Waite's The Devil or Death cards. I'd like to know how they sugarcoated that!

2. Cakes (Neon Genesis Evangelion) Christmas cake in Japan is as traditional as fireworks on New Year's Day. Elaborately decorated cakes featuring anime character faces (Kyubey anyone?) but why take a bite out of Shinji's face when we can go a step further with the latest series of Evangelion cakes. While the surface of the moon and Nerv HQ are interesting, the series might have gone too far with its LCL cake. Filled with strawberry jam, the cake represents the fluid that Eva pilots are submerged in when controlling the Evas. A substance that, and according to the series, smells like blood.

1. Hangers (Various Series) If you'd like to liven up your closet, or simply enjoy the idea of people staring at you while sleep, these anime character hangers are right up your alley. The series of clothing hangers feature fan favorite characters Rei from Neon Genesis Evangelion, Saber from Fate/Stay Night, Gintoko from Gintama, Char from Gundam and others as decapitated heads to hold your clothes! Collect them all!

The new poll: What's your favorite upcoming Spring series?

The old poll: Last week's poll asked which monster catcher would reign supreme in a genre-wide tournament. Here's the full results:

  1. Card Captor Sakura (Cardcaptor Sakura) 31.8%
  2. Ash Ketchum/Satoshi (Pokemon) 19.9%
  3. Yugi (Yu-Gi-Oh!) 14.4%
  4. Taichi "Tai" Kamiya (Digimon) 8.5%
  5. Erin (Kemono no Souja Erin) 5.6%
  6. Takamine Kiyomaro (Zatch Bell) 3.9%
  7. Abe no Masahiro (Shonen Onmyouji) 3.2%
  8. Takato Matsuki (Digimon Tamers) 3.2%
  9. Genki (Monster Rancher) 2.1%
  10. Zed (Kiba) 1.9%
  11. Masaru Daimon (Digimon Data Squad) 1.1%
  12. Taiki Kudō (Digimon Fusion/Xros Wars) 0.7%
  13. Reiji Oozora (Dragon Drive) 0.7%
  14. Aichi Sendō (Card Fight Vanguard) 0.6%
  15. Takuya Kanbara (Digimon Frontier) 0.5%
  16. Zen Bakunouchi (Fighting Foodons) 0.5%
  17. Mondo (Mon Colle Knights) 0.5%
  18. Shoubu Kirifuda (Duel Masters) 0.5%
  19. Danma "Dan" Kūsō (Bakugan Battle Brawlers) 0.2%
  20. Max (Dinosaur King) 0.1%
  21. Shuu (Legendz: Yomigaeru Ryuuou Densetsu) 0.1%
  22. Chase (Monsuno) 0.1%

Alright everybody, see you all next week! I look forward to your input in the comments and feel free to follow me on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee or e-mail me at [email protected]

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