Other award-winning items up for sale include rags that look cuter with dirt and tea that tastes like the cosmos.

Anyone living in Japan or even long-time readers of this website will no doubt be familiar with Village Vanguard, the nation’s premier novelty goods shop. Known as the place to buy curry of any color imaginable and a bra for your eyes, they also hold a yearly award ceremony to honor the best and brightest up-and-coming novelty good creators.

This year’s grand prize was handed to the Manga Umbrella. When closed it looks like any old bumbershoot, but once opened; “BAAAAAAAAH!

▼ Or DON!!!! depending how you hold it.

Your head becomes surrounded with the onomatopoeic scripts of the manga world, complete with velocity lines to thrust you right in the center of the monochromatic action!

The creators won a prize of 200,000 yen (US$1,700) and the chance to have the Manga Umbrella realized and sold through Village Vanguard for 4,104 yen ($36) each.

Its runner-up was Zookin, which are animal-shaped rags. Although that doesn’t sound very remarkable, the genius of Zookin are in the animals’ patterns, or lack thereof. Available in cow, cat, and panda. they each originally come in a plain white color which makes them look slightly off.

However, once you start cleaning, the black and brown stains give each animal their organic colorings, making them look as they should.

At 1,512 yen ($13) each, it’s the perfect gift to ensure that completionist clean freak in your life will be up until 3 a.m. wiping down the the engine block of their car to give Mr. Zookin Panda all his black patches.

This month also marks the re-release of Space Tea, which, as it’s name suggests, is a tea flavored like outer space. The makers say it is based on an analysis of the space suits worn by astronauts on their return to earth.

We tried it during a previous run and found it to be surprisingly tangy, both for a tea and a cold vacuum irradiated by cosmic rays. Now, you can too for only 2,160 yen…at least you could if it hadn’t already sold out on Village Vanguard’s online shop.

Sadly, the Manga Umbrella’s preorders have also all been filled as well, within a matter of days. Zookins are still available as of this writing, however.

Be sure to keep an eye on their brick-and-mortar stores and online shop though, because Village Vanguard would be foolish not to try and get more of these prize-winning novelty goods out in time for the holiday season. Failing that, you can always pick up a tried-and-tested pack of KFC bath salts or can of Leftover Bathwater Drink there too!

Source: PR Times, Village Vanguard / Manga Umbrella, Zookin, Space Tea
Images: PR Times
[ Read in Japanese ]