The Kyaraben trend is still going strong in Japan, and even though winter has prompted some to make the temporary switch to deco-nabe, the demand for adorable packed lunches shows no signs of abating. Today we’d like to take a look back over the best of the past year’s Kyaraben. What can we learn about 2014 in Japan from studying these perfect works of edible art?

The year’s most popular Kyaraben characters can be whittled down to a shortlist of just three. These three mascots dominated lunchboxes in 2014, meaning that if you showed up to elementary school without one of these little critters peeking up at you from a mound of rice and carefully shaped seaweed, well, then you knew you just weren’t one of the cool kids.

In third place, it’s Funassyi! (Un-)officially representing the city of Funabashi, Chiba, this jiggly yellow pear has captured the attention of kids everywhere (as well as inspiring our own Mr Sato to create a homage character), prompting doting parents to endeavour to reproduce its adorableness utilising the medium of bento.

 ▼ This Funassyi looks a little melted!

▼ Funassyi and Kumamon (Kumamoto Prefecture’s mascot) collaboration!

In second place, it could only be Disney’s Frozen! Known in Japan as “Anna and the Snow Queen”, this wintry tale of two sisters has excited little Japanese girls just as much as those in the West.

▼ Elsa looking good enough to eat!

▼ Plenty of Olaf the goofy snowman, too.

▼ He’s made out of fish cakes!

And of course, the clear winner is the monster hit cross-media series, Youkai Watch!

▼ This one is just so perfectly crafted!

▼ Whisper made out of an egg!

▼ Crazy seaweed cutting skills here!

And here’s some of the runners-up:

▼ Baymax from Big Hero 6

▼ Mickey, still going strong

▼ Aw, how adorable is this kiss?

▼ Pikachu hanging in there after a rough year

▼ This writer’s personal favorite lazy bear, Rilakkuma!

▼ Toddlers’ favorite Anpanman!

▼ A little more Kumamon!

▼ My Neighbor Totoro!

▼ And this incredible Metal Gear Solid 3D bento!

We can’t wait to see what new and wonderful Kyaraben 2015 has in store for us!

Source: Naver Matome
Main Image: Twitter @dennjyu/josi