French press meets French kiss.

Many anime and manga series owe their success to the charisma of their characters, and in some cases hard-core fans may develop such an intense attachment to their favorite that they seek a way to physically express their love. But while huggy pillows may do the job for those willing to go all the way with their 2-D crush, what about fans who’re looking to lock lips with their favorite character in a way that still serves a practical purpose?

Enter the latest innovation in anime character merchandise: a tumbler with an anime character’s face on the lid, so that you can drink from it while imagining the two of you are entwined in a passionate kiss.

While this might seem like the sort of marketing that could only come from the hyper-sexualized, self-aware marketing of 21st-century anime franchises, it’s actually a promotion for The Rose of Versailles, one of the all-time classic shojo manga, which was serialized from 1972 to 1973 and then adapted into an anime TV series in 1979. Gracing the cup is Oscar, Rose of Versailles’ dashing heroine who was raised as a boy and conceals her gender, earning admirers of both sexes in the process.

This unique drinking vessel was created as part of a collaboration with Japanese confectioner Glico’s Bitte line of chocolates, which the candymaker boasts pair well with coffee. The Rose of Versailles cast is also appearing on Bitte boxes and individual wrappers.

The tumbler isn’t being offered for sale directly. Instead, 5,000 cups are being given away to the winners of a sweepstakes, the entry cards for which can be found inside the Rose of Versailles Bitte boxes.

The cup’s design is actually quite clever, but we can’t help noticing that since the liquid contents spill out of Oscar’s mouth into your own, a dirtier interpretation of what’s going on would be to see the “kiss” as Oscar spitting into your mouth.

Whether that will discourage other companies from making similar cups for other anime characters, or actually encourage them to do so, probably depends on the specific series and its fanbase.

Source, images: Glico press release
[ Read in Japanese ]

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he wonders what happened to his Slayers Try drinking glass.

[ Read in Japanese ]