Oliver’s new mascot Chiijohn steals Chiitan’s best friend and now there’s beef to settle.

If you’ve been reading our site for a while now, you’ll know we have a soft spot for a cheeky Japanese otter mascot called Chiitan. The self-described “0-year-old fairy baby” first caught our attention back in February last year, with a series of everyday videos we couldn’t stop watching on repeat.

One of those videos was this one, showing Chiitan kicking a balance ball, which has racked up close to 8 million views.

While these crazy videos brought fame to the mascot, they also brought controversy, as the mayor of Susaki City in Kochi Prefecture officially requested that the mascot “suspend activities” earlier this year.

According to the mayor’s office, Chiitan looks similar to the city’s official mascot, a fellow otter called Shinjo-kun who was designed by the same person, and although Susaki once embraced Chiitan as their unofficial “Tourism Ambassador”, this status was rescinded following complaints from residents over the mascot’s unruly behaviour.

Chiitan was tainting the image of the city, and deemed to be a bad influence on Shinjo-kun, their official mascot.

So while it’s not unusual for Chiitan to court controversy in the media, we were still surprised to see the mascot now in a beef with another well-known personality, this time British talk show host John Oliver.

Oliver, who hosts the American late-night talk show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, started the trans-Pacific beef when he told viewers about the mascot and its history on his show a few nights ago.

While the above video doesn’t show the entire clip, at the end of the segment, Oliver said he felt sorry for Shinjo-kun losing a best friend, and even went so far as to create a new unofficial mascot to keep Shinjo-kun company.

Say hello to Chiijohn, a “41-year-old near-sighted English fairy baby”.

John Oliver actually sent the new otter mascot over to Japan to fill the “Chiitan-shaped hole in Shinjo-kun’s heart”, with this heartwarming clip showing the story of their first meeting in Japan.

▼ Shinjo-kun and Chiijohn then began to share photos of their new friendship online

But there was one person – or otter – who wasn’t happy about this new arrangement: former best friend Chiitan.

▼ Chiitan lashed out with this tweet on Twitter.

Unhappy about his best friend moving on with another otter, Chiitan threw down the gauntlet, challenging John Oliver (aka Mr British Birb) to a “no-holds barred match”, saying he “wants to give Mr John Oliver a chance to explode through a table”.

“Explode through a table” is a WWE reference, which Oliver himself discussed in an episode of his show earlier this month.

It appears that Chiitan is ready to take Oliver on in the wrestling ring, tagging the talk show host in a flurry of provocative tweets, and even inviting Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (The Rock chan) to help out in a tag-team match.

Whether or not Oliver will make the trip to Japan to “explode through a table” with Chiitan is yet to be seen, but one thing’s for certain: the talk show host is clearly thrilled to find himself “in a public beef with an unsanctioned Japanese otter.”

We have our fingers crossed that Oliver will follow in the footsteps of fellow talk show host Conan O’Brien, who came to Japan to settle – and eat – some beef with the people of Conan Town.

That trip also started off with a challenge invitation, so we’ll be keeping an eye on the situation and keep you updated with any developments!

Source: Twitter/@ogecebel
Featured image: Twitter/@ogecebel
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