After a decade as electronics stores’ mascot, Tsukumo-tan is unemployed.

Japan has a soft spot for illustrated mascot characters, and that goes double for the otaku demographic. So about a decade ago, computer parts store Tsukumo enlisted the help of Tsukumo-tan, a cute anime girl spokescharacter.

▼ Tsukumo-tan

The twin-tailed mascot made her debut at a midnight launch for the LGA 1156 CPU socket on September 8, 2009. Since then, she’s appeared in ads for the chain and on promotional items such as stickers, clear files, and posters that were given away as freebies to Tsukumo customers, and while she wasn’t exclusive to Tsukumo branches in Tokyo’s Akihabara neighborhood, she was such a fixture of the capital’s otaku district that she’s won the “Moe Characters You See in Akihabara” popularity poll for the past 11 years in a row.

▼ Tsukumo-tan merch

However, Tsukumo-tan’s string of victories won’t be continuing much longer, because she’s now out of a job. Tsukumo’s official Twitter account has sent out an announcement, and also posted one on the company’s website, informing fans that Tsukumo’s spokescharatcer contract has expired, and is not being renewed.

While Tsukumo-tan’s very name is a reference to her former employer, Tsukumo doesn’t actually own the character. Tsukumo-tan belongs to character design/merchandising firm Toy’s Planning, who licensed the character to Tsukumo for use in ads and promotional items.

Tsukumo-tan’s many fans were surprised to learn that she isn’t the property/a permanent employee of Tsukumo, but were more surprised to learn that they’ll have to say goodbye. Actually, the goodbye is retroactive, as even though Tsukumo’s announcement tweet was sent on September 8, the character’s contract ended on August 31. “We would like to express our deep gratitude to all who have loved Tsukumo-tan for these 11 years,” says Tsukumo in its website announcement, which closes with, “And finally, Tsukumo-tan, thank you for everything!”

Twitter reactions to the announcement have included:

“I’ll never forget you, Tsukumo-tan!”

“Tsukumo-tan, thank you for all your hard work…I live in Hokkaido, but I went all the way to Comiket [in Tokyo] to buy more of your merch.”

“I’ve been building ym own PCs for 20 years, and somewhere along the line I started doing all my shopping at Tsukumo so I could see Tsukumo-tan.”

“I went to Tsukumo to buy my last hard disk drive, but looking back, I think the main thing was that I wanted the Tsukumo-tan merch they were giving away.”

“So are they going to replace her with a character who’s less moe, like a giant robot?”

This isn’t the only chapter in Tsukumo’s history that’s recently come to a close, as August 30 was the last day for the chain’s landmark Akihabara Ekimae branch, once again proving that change is the only constant in the anime and electronics worlds.

Source: Tsukumo via Jin
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