This is a balloon you won’t want to let your children anywhere near.

Most people when thinking of Japanese manga will immediately think of something like Weekly Shonen Jump, home to Naruto, One Piece and My Hero Academia. But there’s a whole forest of weekly comics out there, and one of them, Weekly Shonen Champion, celebrated its 50th birthday with a special fan appreciation day.

Stalls were erected and celebrity talks held for the biggest stars of the comic’s present run. Paru Itagaki, author of furry epic Beastars, held a panel where she talked about her process and showcased various piece of artwork, alongside fellow Champion artist Osamu Nishi (Mairimashita! Iruma-kun). Dioramas of places and costumes from martial arts manga Baki the Grappler were installed.

And for popular cycling series Yowamushi Pedal?

Well, they did this.

Aghhh!!!

This titanic abomination is a recreation of the series’ villain, Akira Midosuji. Midosuji not only turns his school’s cycling team into a terrifying military operation in hopes of securing a trophy win over protagonist Onoda and pals, but he frequently undergoes horrifyingly visceral transformations while making his bike go as fast as humanly(?) possible.

He also has a very, very long tongue.

▼ Midosuji is known to bark “Kimoi!” (“Gross!”) at other cyclists without a shred of irony.

While there were no flies in the vicinity to demonstrate the balloon’s ability to whap them away, it still managed to recreate the series’ iconic villain in fine form. As its hands roamed up and down, clawing at the air with an animal intensity, its tongue flickered and writhed like something you might see in a ’90s RPG.

▼ No, really.

The fan appreciation day was a peculiar anniversary celebration because all its attractions, including this nightmarish balloon, were paid for by fans. Yowamushi Pedal fans raised more than double the funding goal for this creature, arriving at a grand total of 4,781,173 yen (US$44348.143). Thanks for that, guys. Thanks for putting your hard-earned cash towards this. Genuinely.

The Internet reacted with equal horror and delight to the balloon, with most honing in on that troubling tongue.

▼ The comparisons are undeniable.

One fan offered him a tasty snack.

“He even licked the squishy stress-ball version of himself…”

Unfortunately, the Midosuji balloon was a special one-time event for the fan appreciation day, which took place on July 15. We wonder where they’ll store his gigantic, slowly deflating form… Maybe he’ll show up in a random neighborhood twenty years from now, tongue still flickering.

Source, featured image: Twitter/@pedal0131
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