warabi maiko 1

When you think about Japan’s obsession with the yuru-kyara, you will notice a few pretty common characteristics between the mascots, especially when looking at the past grand prix winners. Kumamon, Sanomaru, Gunma-chan, and Bary-san are all large, cute, fuzzy and somewhat aloof. Which is why it’s so strange to see one of the newest yuru-kyaras to debut.

Warabi Maiko-chan doesn’t seem that cute or fuzzy. In fact, whatever characteristics this new mascot is supposed to have, we can clearly say, we can see right through her.

Anyone who is familiar with warabimochi from Kyoto has probably seen through our clever play on words. This famous food from Kyoto (and Okinawa) is a kind of mochi that you can coat with different flavorful toppings. The interesting thing is in its original form, warabimochi is transparent. Combining this food with something else that Kyoto is famous for, the maiko (apprentice geisha), and you’ve got the brand new Warabi Maiko-chan!

This new yuru-kyara has gained some popularity since she opened a Twitter account on March 3, 2015. However, kudos to the designers; there is no way to mistake this as anything but a rectangular warabimochi with maiko makeup.

[tweet https://twitter.com/kyotowmc/status/576686621296189440 align=center]

Their marketing campaign is clearly working, because plenty of people are talking about Warabi Maiko-chan. Comments left online range from the bewildered…

“What the heck is that?!”
“Won’t the person in the middle suffocate?”
“Use a bit more money and then come up with a new design.”

…to some not-so-subtle suggestions.

“At least put a girl in the middle.”
“In the summer it should be a girl in a swimsuit.”
“This is the first time I’ve wanted to meet a yuru-kyara.”

[tweet https://twitter.com/kyotowmc/status/576338825078685696 align=center]

No matter how popular this character gets, no one is going to forget the see-through unofficial mascot of Kyoto. Whether or not that translates into merchandise sales or nationwide popularity will be left completely up to the public.

Do you think this is going to become a big yuru-kyara hit? Or should they have just left this design on the drawing board? Leave us a comment!

[tweet https://twitter.com/kyotowmc/status/577371772166610944 align=center]

Source: Twitter (@kyotowmc) via Itai News
Images: Twitter (@kyotowmc)