When a 17-year-old who lives in a sanitarium with bandaged wrists and a fang tooth asks for blood, fans come running from around the country.

In Japan, when you want people to donate blood, all you have to do is get a 2-D anime character to stand in as your poster girl — literally — and fans will gladly offer up their veins like a virgin to a vampire.

That’s exactly what happened in Japan this summer, when the Natori City Health Centre in Miyagi Prefecture enlisted virtual YouTuber Sana Natori to put out the call asking for blood donations. According to the Health Centre, Sana was chosen for the job after they searched for a popular person with the same surname as the city to help increase the number of young people giving blood.

When they hit upon Sana, a virtual YouTuber who debuted two years ago, she was perfect not just in name but in character as well. As a self-described nurse, who dresses in a pink uniform, Sana is already tied to the medical industry, and her yaeba (protruding ‘fang’ tooth) makes her request for blood appear all the more earnest.

Take a look at Sana’s introductory video below. Subtitles in a variety of languages (including English) can be accessed by clicking the settings icon.

With more than 200,000 followers on Twitter and 217,000 subscribers on YouTube, Sana has a large fanbase of admirers, many of whom would travel long distances for her. And travel they did, because during her first collaboration with the Health Centre on 30 August, fans came from as far away as Shimane and Aichi prefectures to give blood in exchange for an exclusive poster of the nurse with ruby red eyes.

▼ Shimane is over 1,000 kilometres (621 miles) from Natori City.

▼ The highly sought-after poster can be seen at the blood donation site, located at the Aeon shopping mall in Natori City, in the photo below.

93 people donated blood on 30 August, which was more than twice the day before, when the poster wasn’t being offered. Sana’s announcement on Twitter a couple of days beforehand contributed to the rise in donations, after her tweet asking for blood donations in Natori received thousands of likes and retweets.

Less than a month later, a second blood drive was held, again at the Aeon shopping mall in Natori City, and again fans travelled long distances for her, coming from as far afield as Fukui and Hyogo prefectures, located over 600 and 800 kilometres (373 and 497 miles) away respectively.

The tie-up has been so successful that another two blood drives will be held at the shopping mall this month, on 18 and 31 October.

The event is already looking to be incredibly popular, with fans leaving comments like:

“You’re so cute I’ll give you all my blood.”
“Looks like I’ll have to go and get the blood sucked out of me again!”
“Drain me of all my blood, Natori!”
“I want the poster so badly!”
“Please come to Tokyo next!!!”
“I’m so pleased your involvement has attracted so much attention!”

Given the popularity of the limited-time tie-up event, blood donations now require a prior reservation via the Japanese Red Cross Society website or by phone to the Health Centre in order to prevent overcrowding and maintain proper social distancing.

Like other anime poster girls before her, Sana’s cooperation in the blood drive has led to a sharp increase in blood donations, not only from locals in Miyagi Prefecture but from people across the nation. With results this great, she won’t be the last anime girl to ask for blood on behalf of Japanese health centres and the Red Cross Society, no matter how much controversy surrounds their association.

Source: Livedoor News via Jin
Top image: YouTube/さなちゃんねる 
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