The List
7 More Weird Anthro Projects

by Lynzee Loveridge,

When I first wrote about wacky dating sims, it seemed like the anthro-craze was just starting to get off the ground. Ship girls and sword boys weren't quite mainstream and the weirdest examples to come stateside involved pigeons and llamas. At the time, I thought there would never be anything stranger than raising your own soap scum into a potential romantic partner. I was younger then, and sorely underestimated humans' ability to capitalize on absolutely everything. Here's just a handful of the most bizarre projects that have come across my desk since I last dove in, as well some older projects I neglected last time!

Hiragana Danshi The race to turn all kinds of things into attractive characters has reached a point where it's practically esoteric. For instance, what kind of attributes would you give to letters in the English alphabet? What kind of person would "L" or "J" be? This is the premise of Hiragana Danshi, a mobile game that assigns personalities to hiragana. The nuance is likely lost on me, since my Japanese vocabulary is too limited to associate any particularly common words with each symbol—which seems to be the route the game developers took when creating their characters. As an aside, most of the character designs are better looking than our friend "Ba" pictured here, but I can't resist a dude with a bear friend.

Particle Boys Maybe if my high school Chemistry textbook was filled with cute character designs to accompany terms like "quark" and "gluon", I would have spent less time doodling in the margins of my notebook. That seems to be the motivation behind the creators of Particle Boys, where elementary particles are now a group of scientists at an elite academy. The academy itself is named after the International Linear Collider, which has been researched in Iwate for the last four years. It's proposed to be about 19–31 miles long and will slam positrons into electrons. Oddly, this has not been represented by a BL scenario in the project.

Medaka-kun, Sayonara. Many kids start out with fish as a first pet, either a goldfish or maybe a beta. Despite their popularity as pets, fish-boys and fish-girls don't get the same amount of love as their cat and dog counterparts. Consider Medaka-kun, Sayonara a half-step towards representation since this manga isn't selling its characters as attractive. The titular star is a Japanese rice fish doing his best to survive in an aquarium with his water-borne brethren, including a chivalrous shrimp that eats feces.

Eye Drops Ingredients Anthro characters are most commonly created to either sell a game concept, promote tourism, or sell a product. The latter example is kind of like a mascot, if Tony the Tiger was a sexy woman. Santen Pharmaceuticals bought into this idea wholesale, creating characters to represent all the ingredients in its eye drops and assign a sci-fi back story to them. Taurine, Neostigmine Methylsulfate, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Potassium L-Aspartate, Tetrahydrozoline Hydrochloride, and more really long chemical names join forces to fight the alien menace (in your eyeball?)

Highway Pit Stops Here's one of the stranger incidences of anthro characters created for tourism. Everyone expects a cute, cuddly character or even a rejected pearl diver to drive up sales for a quaint country town. But it's less expected for characters to represent the places you stop to stretch your legs along the way. Japan's highway authority did just that for a novel, Gensō Kōryū ("Exchange of Illusions"), with character designs by Mel Kishida. In the book, the service station girls are from an alternate dimension and seek help from a run-of-the-mill salaryman as they go up and down the highway.

Palette Parade The world of fine art is full of eclectic and quirky personalities. Leonardo da Vinci is not only known for his amazing artistic accomplishments but also for his strange sleeping habits. Vincent van Gogh is renowned for his sunflowers just as much as his mental health problems. How does that translate to a game full of attractive dudes? Well, it's glossed over in the name of consumerism mostly. No one on the design team thought true-to-life representations would be particularly attractive to their audience, which is how van Gogh goes from a complicated human to someone who wants to "make everyone smile with my sunflowers."

Idiom Girl I said that Hiragana Boys was estoteric but Idiom Girls might be the winner in that category. See, Japan loves wordplay. You find it all the time in anime character names, like Sailor Moon for example. Idiom Girl is in the same vein, attaching character designs to Japanese equivalents of "no use crying over spilled milk" or "the early bird catches the worm" and making it into a mobile game. The result is kind of profound, or at least really strange. It's not the first to latch onto this idea, either. Kill Doya is a Japanese browser game also centered around kanji, but in that case it's trendy lingo associated with self-important people, which seems highly specific to base a whole game around.

The new poll: Which Winter 2017 anime series are you most excited to watch?

The old poll: If you were a captain, which One Piece ship would you choose as your vessel?

  1. Thousand Sunny
  2. Going Merry
  3. Thriller Bark
  4. Moby Dick
  5. Flying Dutchman
  6. Oro Jackson
  7. Ark Maxim
  8. Pluton
  9. A Badly Built Raft (haha, guys)
  10. Baratie

When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as the Managing Interest Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her sons on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.

discuss this in the forum (24 posts) |
bookmark/share with:

The List homepage / archives